I am so secure in my Judaism
that it's easy enough
to see an episode of House
where he criticizes Christian belief
but when an orthodox woman
comes in and House knows
and punches in the face
the Aishet Chayil, I squirm.
He knows it, the beginning, at least,
in English, translates it,
calls her an idiot. I suddenly
lose a toenail. My eye twitches.
Ba'al Tshuvah is change.
That's what he struggles with,
and faith is mixed in, of course--
when moral dilemmas peep through the window
he unwillingly learns a lesson.
That's him: smug, numb, unflinching
yet movable on his own terms.
He must always learn, but
he can't just be right,
it's got to be wrong-right.
Extreme change makes him
uneasy like how unsettling my earth
makes me shake. I suppose
you can knock down your own trees
but when someone actually does
make fun of your momma,
you pull the ax on him.
There are probably many Jewish stories,
Midrashim, old Yiddishisms or
Sefardicisms about this kind of rattle
but not knowing much or only
some of the much is the challenge.
How can House be so unnerved
and hold his arm still, and
blue or green or large eyes steady.
He's fictional. As real as the blue
of our sky and the miracles
of eating cereal four meals a day.
The irony is that fictional doubt
can stir a thick pea soup
and click pens & ruffle pages.
Wonderful as that irony is, though,
there's the blackness of the pen again:
not getting any bluer
and not wanting to, like a
gigantic oil spill. How do we clean
those up, anyway?