~This poem was originally published in Shenandoah (2009)
Fear of Giants
After Diane Arbus’s photograph, “A Jewish Giant at Home
with His Parents in the Bronx, N.Y. 1970”
Rabbi Mueller stopped calling him Samson
when my son at ten looked down on me.
By twelve, he’d torn the tightening collar
of school, and I saw his future frown.
Last week, Bart’s Deli named him worker
of the month. He stocks the highest shelves.
Now we wait, our evening service, as he steps
in from the job, conquers the door with his cane,
his limp. My wife’s hands nest on the ledge
of her hips, her mouth’s delighted “o” telling
him, telling me, of her triumph, that this Titan
began in her. I look straight at his waist,
hands moling my pockets for dark. Myths
have come and gone since I brushed his hair
while he stood. Tonight, I sit by his brow,
surveying the baffling terrain of his face,
and muster a waning affection.
[Editor’s Note: Here’s a link to the Arbus photograph.]