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The one who is not me.

Whose forebears journey from ghettos, through deserts, across oceans foreign to mine. Whose skin tone borrows different elements of rainbow. Whose nose is not shaped like mine. Whose tongue mouths syllables my own cannot form. Who dreams in another language. Who worships a false god.

One whose darkness falls as my light begins. Whose summer is my winter. Whose customs are inexplicable. Whose history is unknown to me. Whose eating habits I do not understand. Whose memories are not mine. Whose blood is not a match with mine. Whose family has moved into my neighborhood. Whose last name is unpronounceable.

One whose ancestors made war on mine. One with whom we are presently at war. One who looks like the one with whom we are presently at war. The one who cut me off on the freeway. The one I fear passing on the street. One who called me a name. One for whom I have names that etch the tongue like acid. One who has seen things I can scarcely imagine.

Whose political beliefs infuriate me. Whose values offend me. Whose influence is ruining this country. Whose way of life undermines all we stand for. Whose livelihood threatens mine. The one who took my job. Whose hunger might disrupt my comfort. Whose stench hangs in my nostrils all day. Whose face flashes on the TV screen. Whose eyes beseech and challenge mine. Whose sores I do not want to see.

The one whose wealth reduces me. Whose poverty indicts me. Whose beauty shames me. Whose ugliness disgusts me. Whose intelligence rebukes me. Whose stupidity astonishes me. Whose SUV I resent. One who drives on the wrong side of the road. Who drives too fast. Drives too slow. Who’s driving in front of me.

One who drinks too much. Whose abstention reproaches me. Whose gluttony sickens me. From whose gauntness I recoil. One who sticks a finger down the throat.

One who roots for the wrong team. Who has not read my favorite books. Whose music assaults my ears. Whose taste in fashion is ridiculous. Who shops at the wrong stores. Who pays too much for shoes. Who has no shoes. One who falls in with the wrong crowd. One who is friendless.

One who married too young. Who married too often. Who never got married. Who tried to marry the wrong gender. Whose sexual impulses scare me. Repulse me. Excite me. Whose morals appall me. The one upon whom decades have left their mark. The one as yet untouched by time.

Who has too many children. Who can’t have children. Who doesn’t like children. Who spoils the children terribly. Who neglects the children. Who overprotects the children. Who abuses children.

The one who is a nonbeliever. The one who begins the day with a cold shower. Who wears orange robes and chants in the streets. Who kisses the Torah. Who kneels on stone. Who faces east five times a day. Who lights a candle. Who prostrates before a statue. Who burns incense. Who sacrifices a chicken. Whose beads are cold and smooth beneath the fingertips. Who reads from the Bible. Who rises in darkness to pray. Whose prayers are answered, while mine fall on deaf ears:

God, drive the Other from the face of the earth.

The Other.

The one who mocks me in the silver mirror.

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