The Cantor's Green-Eyed Daughter

Everyone recalls their first mouth-to-mouth kiss.
For me it's not a quick flashback but a haunting reminiscence,
a rerun, a savoring, the skin tingling again,
a warm yearning in my arms
as I try to embrace a long-gone flame.

Rivka was the cantor's daughter.
She was sleeves to wrists, dress to ankles Orthodox.
But two blocks from Hamilton High and three blocks from her home,
we detoured from our usual route and escaped into the park,
under a canopy of trees and behind a green veil of bushes.
She laid down her algebra, history, and Shakespeare,
and I my geometry and chemistry.
Chemistry, I and the cantor's pretty, green-eyed daughter.
She ran her fingers across my cheek,
as mine slipped under her sleeves.
Pecks on the cheeks,
while like a novice shoplifter she turned her head left and right,
again and again.
Then our tongues slowly waltzed.
Somehow my hands were suddenly under her blouse
just as neighborhood brats ran into the park.
The unwanted chaperones taunted us with a promise that they would tell.

A promise fulfilled,
and legions of aunts took turns driving her home
until she was transferred to a girl's yeshiva.
She never walked home with me again -
except, perhaps, maybe, in her memory.

But I walk her home almost every day,
with no robed father high on a dais singing loud hymns.
And always
above Rivka and me
there's that swaying, leafy canopy,
while the green veil gently blows aside in the late Spring breeze.
And most of all green -
her green eyes.

Richard Fein

If you've any comments on this poem, Richard Fein would be pleased to hear from you.