Dear Anne,

September 3, 2013

Sarah and I sat on the back porch last night talking about Padre Pio and his bloody palms. She says even my prayers are made of action. Is this letter enough? I repeat your words again and again after reading them: All I could think was someone was coming to get us, you know who I mean. What makes you feel protected? We used to dress up, too: me as Harpo Marx, and my brother as an undercover cop in drag. If only our Jewishness were another costume to take off. Victorine has never evoked six-pointed stars and prayer shawls. My brother’s junior high basketball coach thought he was Italian. What does passing mean to you? On the L that night with Sarah and friends: Can you believe he called me a migrant worker? Sometimes it seems there are a hundred faces on top of my own. I’m thinking again of the bookshelf and all the years you and your parents make a life behind it.

*

Jacob Victorine is a performance poet and MFA graduate of Columbia College Chicago. Nominated for a 2013 Pushcart Prize, his poems appear in places such as DIALOGIST, Columbia Poetry Review, Phantom Limb, PANK and Muzzle Magazine, for which he also writes book reviews. He is an editorial assistant for Court Green.

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