THE GOLEM & THE NAZI

Genesis, dusk . . .

With the sweet crunch still fresh in his mouth, Adam perceives a change.  A cool breeze causes him to shudder.  He sees traces of dirt packed into the cracks of his palm and feels like a golem, clay brought to life, raw form kneaded as bread into a shapely husk, and yet, forever dust, coming from dust and to dust returning . . .

After cryptology . . .

Anunnaki writes the shem, a name for God, on a scrap of papyrus and inserts the honied text into a golem’s mouth.  Like Pinocchio coming to life, the golem speaks, “Aye,” turning into a man, almost.  Then Anunnaki writes emet, truth, on his forehead, so he’ll never tell a lie and warns him, “I can cut the aleph from your inscription, creature, changing it from truth to death, emet to met.”  But the golem only stares back with his sunken eyes, illiterate, uncomprehending . . .

WWII . . .

The Nazi scales the synagogue stairs, determined to find the golem, forged from clay from the Vltava River bank then awakened through rabbinical ritual—a golem who can raise the dead and become invisible.  A bolshevist’s puppet, the Nazi thinks, teeth clenched, a demonic fiend who challenges the swastika, a murderous rapist who lost at love, hidden in the synagogue attic (a place no Nazi should trod alone).

He opens the door.  He scans the darkness.  He raises his knife, careful on his shiny black jackboots.  When the golem springs from the shadows, monstrous as a gargoyle, the Nazi slashes at the inscription, scratching off the aleph, changing emet to met, truth to death.  The Nazi turns to ash in the synagogue’s burning, but the golem escapes into the night, the crystalline, starry, starry night.

blood moon
what a single spark
will do

 

Anna Cates

THE GOLEM & THE NAZI

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