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Sins of Neglect

October 4, 2014
by Lawrence Bush Sacco-wo-wordsIT’S EREV YOM KIPPUR and I have many sins of neglect to recite I walked a mile with my visiting son tonight who showed me the scary-looking spot he used to use to descend into the canyon very exciting his secret childhood We looked at the calves and cows in the dusky meadow and realized that we don’t really understand the differences between milk cows and beef cows besides the udders and I knew that for twenty-eight years, in the same place I’ve only been a spectator, moving from sight to sight never investigating So I veered off into Steve’s woods for the first time we hiked across the tree roots that lace the ground together and I breathed a little heavily because I was tripping in my sandals and thinking about the bear I recently saw and friends I haven’t I NEGLECTED MY FRIEND Bob this year/ a casual friend but long-time/ I’ve neglected him before/ but his father never died before/ and now Bob probably thinks I’m mad at him/ or just a weird man/ and now there’s inertia between us/ I’m sorry Bob/ I have many excuses/ there are no excuses I neglected Helen, up in Albany, because she kept asking me to help kidnap her husband from the nursing home/ and bring him home to the apartment where he kept getting hurt I’m not the first to abandon her/she’s crazy and stubborn/ but she’s been good to me/ admiring of me/ I will write again and see if she’s capable of writing back or calling me/if not/ perhaps I will rest easy about it/ I am not her son I neglected Betty/my dead mother’s caretaker/who cleaned her shit repeatedly I send her checks, give her money still/ but she needs more/she’s broke/ she’s black/she’s sick and poor/ I will send her another check soon/eventually/ but it will not be enough I neglected my wife 1,242 times this year/ And she neglected me only 369 times/ God, I love her/ She’s the better soul. I’m the more repentant. I would not be me if I were less repentant I would still be me if I were less neglectful My Yom Kippur stretches out like this for days My Jews gathering in open-air synagogues, iPhones illluminated we smoke pot tap keyboards writing texts, poems, tractates of apology for three hours or more five six seven hours before greeting one another at last with hugs real hugs and wan, humble smiles We have apologized! We will try again try again Lawrence Bush edits Jewish Currents.