Poem of the Week

The Horns of Moses

Nicholas Friedman

Browsing a library copy of What to Expect,
I imagine St. Jerome, making by candlelight
the infamous error.
Thus for twelve hundred years
Moses will have, not a divine glow,
but horns crowning his head.
Even Michelangelo will go along with it
and carve two marble nubs.

The book—revised edition—is well-thumbed.
A Bic-blue sad face contemplates
a paragraph on circumcision.
But we’ve barely covered feeding,
I think. And what about…? And what about…?
I have to put it down.

Son, you’re still months away:
It’s too much time, and not enough
to tell which are the horns, and which the light.
But I’ll keep reading, my little covenant,
if you teach me how.

Nicholas Friedman is the author of Petty Theft. He lives with his wife and son in Syracuse.
Originally published:
November 24, 2020

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