Morris Mordes was meek
talked with flowing motions
a cross between a rabbi and a ballerina

worked as a room maid in a Manhattan hotel
commuting from the Bronx
until he repudiated the USA
by stepping on a plane
to the Holy Land

where he met Petra
in an Arab drug store
near a kibbutz
where the members specialized in tolerance

He would have disliked the old, mean Petra
but had fallen in love with the new
vulnerable, post-dysentery version

Petra’s upper arms were barely bigger than her forearms
She wouldn’t stop asking me
if I thought she would ever be the person she once was
I thought No but said Yes

She sometimes dreamed of beating people up
In her sleep she twitched like a dog
balling up her weak little paws
showing her teeth in a snarl