I went to read a book by the lake at 2:18 this afternoon, because I'd lied about needing to be somewhere at 2:30, and I needed a place to go. So I went. I bent the front cover back, so no passersby could see the uncircumcised man on the front, because it was Yehuda Amichai, who knows lapsed Jewry better than anyone but me and all the other children of the Diaspora. I was clumsy with the cover, because the wind was cold, and my fingers were cold, and the deserts from the pages did their jobs too well. The other walkers would sometimes glance at me lying on my front on the bench, my left leg crooked so the spots where the cartilage is strange don't throb and whine. I looked back at them, sometimes, from behind my backlit fringe, because I wanted to see what they thought of a young girl reading a book with a bent-back cover and her feet in the air, and not have them see me. Everything's a performance. I won't remember the people I looked at tomorrow, when my fingers have thawed out, and I wonder if I should have attended services yesterday, and the patch of mud behind my knee has rubbed off, but maybe one of the people who looked at me will remember a young girl, hiding the front of her book with her hand, looking at them through a veil of hair. And hey, I have this poem.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.