Deceiving the Gods
The old Jews rarely admitted good fortune.
And if they did, they’d quickly add kinehora—
let the evil eye not hear. What dummkopf
would think the spirits were on our side?
But even in a tropical paradise, laden
with sugar cane and coconut,
something like the shtetl’s wariness exists.
In Hawaii, I’m told, a fisherman
never spoke directly lest the gods
would arrive at the sea before him.
Instead he’d look to the sky,
the muscular clouds, and say,
I wonder if the leaves are falling in the uplands!
Let us go and gather leaves.
So, my love, today let’s not talk at all.
Let’s be like those couples
eating silently in restaurants,
barely a word the entire meal.
We pitied them, but now I see
they were always so much smarter than we are.