#175 The Obsessive Circumcision
by Greg Thompson

In the locker room,
stripped down, I look down and see it inverted into my scrotum, sucked in by the motion of my exercise. I reach down, pull it out, and I am

in Rome, at the Baths, circumcised, naked among the gentiles, exercising, swimming, talking politics, obsequious to Titus, Jerusalem's rapist, condescending, to my fellow Jews, who come heads down, begging favors. Returning each night, polluted by the food, I must eat, the wine, I must drink, to my home, to my prayers, to my rituals of self purification. And I am

A son of the Maccabees,
among the Greeks, inheritors of Alexander, naked, in the gymnasium, wrestling against the conquerors of Darius. The naked killers, un cut, proud in their nudity and however I cut my hair or wear a short skirt, in their true place, scraping the sweat off my friend's back with oil, I am an alien, in my own land, circumcised. And I am

Back again,
in a locker room, at my junior high school, and lockers slam shut and the other boys laugh too loud and we all carefully don't look down. And I am still circumcised -- truncated and alien.

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