"Let us turn", the rabbi said by rote, "and welcome the Sabbath Bride." Arnold put the full weight of his right leg on his cane, and turned; his wife did not appear. It was no one's business if she was detained.
He walked her, her elbow in his palm, to the corner diner. Better to know each other a little before going in to Radio City. A boy came by and muttered, " dirty Jews," and Arnold wheeled and punched hard. The Slav fell, his mouth bloody. Arnold leaned over him. "Do you know me?" he asked. The boy nodded. "You know I live there, at 369 Walnut Street?" Again a nod, hand on swollen lips. "And you are Krzysztof, the baker's son," said Arnold, "and if you tell your father or brothers about this, I'll do it again. Do you understand?"
Arnold turned and walked Miriam to their first date. They walked into the diner and found a table. He felt ashamed then. Quietly, Miriam said, "There's blood on your shirt." He looked down and she disappeared.
Alone, he cursed, and then cursed again. "Why did you have to behave like that? Scare off that pretty girl?"
Miriam slid into the chair opposite him, napkins wetted in the restroom. "Lean forward," she said.
Arnold painfully turned again in the sanctuary, and faced the front.
Charles Bane, Jr. is the American author of The Chapbook (Curbside Splendor, 2011) and Love Poems (Kelsay Books, 2014). His work was described by the Huffington Post as "not only standing on the shoulders of giants, but shrinking them." Creator of The Meaning Of Poetry series for The Gutenberg Project, he is a current nominee as Poet Laureate of Florida. Find him online at http://www.charlesbanejr.com.