My Father Was a Zionist

My father

was a devoted man.

He didn’t study the Torah.

He didn’t keep Kosher.

He was devoted to the proletariat

of the Jewish people.


My father

was a working man.

He smelt of pin and dirt

and helped build our bomb shelter

with his sturdy hands.

He researched desert agriculture

and studied African irrigation techniques.


My father

was a visionary man.

All our neighbors

said his dream was impossible.

He campaigned for a Jewish state.

He was part of the hands

holding the sling that shot Goliath.


My father

is a joyous man.

He moved my family

from Russia

from Paterson

to the promised lands

where life began anew.


This poem, along with the other poems categorized under the Labkovski Project section, were written for the LAMOTH exhibit on David Labkovski’s life and art.

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