Beit Shemesh

Kenny Tanemura

 Groups of Ultra-Orthodox Jewish protesters have been picketing a new girls’ school. They say their religious sense of modesty is offended by the sight of the girls...

Sluts, they protest, as if 
the girls are monsters 
with serpents’ tails, don’t 
wear sleeves up to a fist’s  

length. Collarbones showing. 
Tramps, they say, with stones 
in their hands. The men 
buy homburg hats  

with welfare checks. 
The girls wear skirts 
that rise to the knees. Tarts,
they say, with eggs  

in their pockets, shell
kept by the silk lining 
from breaking. The men 
spend the 9-to-5 thinking scripture,  

tasting the broth 
of the purchase gained from prayer.
Are they out there?
a girl asks. Her hand a microcosm 

of a hand. The bearded men moan
as if calling out the name
of a son. The men, mouths 
open, almost sing.

Kenny Tanemura is a graduate of the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Purdue University.