His office, a late light burning
in the grey monolith
of the new university.
Poured concrete, sealed windows.
“An afterthought of Albert Speer,” he quipped.

Around his neck he wore an ancient
medallion engraved with the Goddess.

He praised the Greek islands, women, ouzo,
but the eyes that scanned your soul
were those of a Talmudist.

He welcomed me,
a neophyte with manuscript in trembling hand
and read my poems aloud,
making them credible to my ear.

“Don’t question your talent.
Can’t you see you’re blessed
with Jewish anxiety?”

Once, after discussing poetry
and the Holocaust,
he lit a matchbox and together
we sat in silence
watching it flame into nothing
in the ashtray
on his desk.

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