Because the king decrees that every Jew must buy his wedding-right in unsold porcelain from the royal chinaworks, here he stands, an amorous Jew, gazing at luminous suns and moons arrayed on doths of velvet-blue, earth that has married fire twice, that has been shaped and named for what it comprehends: sherbets, salads, gravies, desserts. He lifts a platter fine as alabaster in cathedral windows: salvation, the passage of light through bone. Ah, but not for you, the store-man says. Closeted, in shipping crates are pieces no one else will buy baboon fops in feathered caps, chimpanzees in petticoats. Visitors will later testify, his home was comfortable, despite the china apes peering from every corner.
Copyright © 2002 by Jean Nordhaus. From The Porcelain Apes of Moses Mendelssohn published in April 2002 by Milkweed Editions. All rights reserved.