Ben Nadler

Master of Return

You come through my door like a rock someone threw.
Inside, you do your same old rude boy dance, this way and that way
down the hallway, but now there are tzitzit dangling
from under your black track jacket. They swing as you move.
You are tired of moving. You lie on my floor and close your eyes.
As you sleep, you hold your kipot clenched tight in your right hand.
I watch you sleep, listen to your untroubled breath.
There was always something about you and hard floors,
and your full lungs, and your straight spine. You wake,
go into the bathroom to take a shit. You come out mumbling
a prayer. You drink a glass of water, and mumble another prayer.
It will be Shabbos soon. The angels will be sent away.
You trade me your track jacket for my old blazer,
so you can show yourself at synagogue. 

Author Portrait

Ben Nadler's nonfiction monograph, Punk in NYC’s Lower East Side 1981-1991, is forthcoming from Microcosm Publishing. His previous works include the poetry chapbook, The Men Who Work Under The Ground (Keep This Bag Away From Children, 2012), and the novel, Harvitz, As To War (Iron Diesel, 2011). He lives and teaches in New York City.

View the website of Ben Nadler