My mother’s maiden name was Cohen
but because the blood of this tradition
only runs through the veins of our fathers
she was not entitled to anything special.
She wouldn’t believe that if you told her,
though, and I can recount a lifetime of
occasions where she was convinced
she was related to the kings and queens
of the world. There was an almost daily
check of the mailbox for the royalty check
which never came. I only recently learned
of the patrilineal entitlements of our priestly
class. It’s not that I made a point to avoid
cemeteries. To my knowledge, I’ve never
interacted with a human corpse, though I
do enjoy the zombie-centric television shows
which are the fashion of our day. It’s a relief
to know I’m not bound by the restrictions or
entitlements of the sons of Aaron. Though
the other six hundred plus laws are waiting
for their turn on my mantle. At least there are
my cousins, the three Cohen boys, all of
whom erect Christmas trees without the
weight of history telling them otherwise.
I don’t mean to act like a Hollywood name-
dropper but I know I could ask them for holy
favors if I needed to. One of them bought me
shoes once. Another took a dessert sampler
platter for the cause. The third transports
our child, from state to state so my wife and I
can periodically leave the continent. Their
father, the big Cohen, has a heart larger than
the second Temple. Speaks and eats Yiddish
like a habit. These are the priests in my life.
The holiest men I know. They’ve built me
a bridge to thirty five hundred years ago.
Forgive the round number.
We interpret as we go.