Steady Hand

Steady Hand

The Bris. The celebration of removal of foreskin
The first of his covenants with our Creator
Not in the presumed sterility of hospital walls
But done in one’s home surrounded by family and deli

Some choose to step back
Shout out the obligatory “mazel tov” on cue.
Others crowd around close to the makeshift surgical center
All are subject to the litany of moyel jokes that muster up an awkward chuckle

No one is as queasy as the infant’s father
Sweating, praying for a steady hand.
Questioning why didn’t we do this in the hospital, where it’s “clean”
Beginning to question why to do this at all,
Take a knife to his son, only 8 days on this Earth

Sucking on gauze soaked in Manishewitz,  the child lies peacefully
Placed on a pillow held by the Godfather, the highest of honors
He is then handed over to the  moyel who slices off the foreskin
The piece of flesh left on the table for burial In the yard.

As the generations before and the generations after,
Jews celebrate this act
Recognize the solemnity of the day
Feel a sense of tradition, respect and honor it

For the mother and father it marks a milestone
Of trusting and letting go
Loving, forgiving and coveting this child.
Always hoping for that steady hand

– Anne Koplin, M.D.