December 8

A weekly poem, read by the author.
Sept. 20 2000 3:00 AM

December 8

Fathers die twice
a year in Judaism
my father died today
twenty-eight years ago
in the secular calendar
and on 20 Kislev (November
29 this year) in the Hebrew
so I mourn on both dates
with a candle after many
ghostly reappearances
in Elsinore my home for
all the big speeches and
years I thought Freud's
Hamlet was the true one and
could be played by me in my
daily life while at night I moon-
lighted as Samuel Taylor Coleridge 

David Lehman is the editor of The Oxford Book of American Poetry. He won the 2010 Deems Taylor Award from ASCAP for his book A Fine Romance: Jewish Songwriters, American Songs. He teaches in the graduate writing program at the New School in New York City.