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On His Circumcision

Grazing on-line, I came across a group of males last night,
all Christians, all Americans, determined to put right
a wrong done to their manhood which they saw as child abuse:
entire they had been born, and yet they wanted a prepuce.

This gross intrusion on their persons their attorneys meant
to challenge in the courts and thus to set a precedent
that no-one — even those by holy laws and customs bound —
should be obliged to suffer this humiliating wound.

Their forum offers consolation, counsel, and advice
to those prepared to pay a multi-thousand-dollar price
to plastic surgeons, all acknowledged masters of their art
who would by artificial means re-graft the tender part
onto the stump of flesh from which it was untimely torn.

(And should this seem, they say, a costly sacrifice to make,
what matters comfort or expense, when principle’s at stake?)

I’m neither Jew nor Muslim but, when I was hardly born,
somebody took a knife to me in 1951,
and am I, as this website says, thereby deprived of fun?
How should I know? It may be that a dulling of sensation
enhances carnal pleasure through delayed ejaculation.
I won’t add my name to the list of those who would accuse
the perpetrators of a cut they could not then refuse.
In fact I’m glad I was a neonate when I was nipped,
unlike poor Tristram Shandy, pissing when a window slipped.
The world is woeful. There are battles worthier to win
than one whose cause is but the loss of half an inch of skin.
Marked men we are, but I don’t feel resentful on that score.
If I were boastful (but I’m not) I might say, ‘Less is more.’

Audio file

Listen to this poem — read by the author