Winner of Wanted #20

It was a three-uncle job. One to hold my brother, one to hold my mother, one to hold the knife. My brother’s penis was tiny and tinged orange in the light of the stained glass, dangling out like the pale nub of a baby carrot. What could be left after they cut some off?
 
“It’s a strange situation,” I heard one of my mother’s relatives whisper to another.
 
“A circumcision. Strange circumcision situation.” They giggled away. My new stepfather’s side of the family glared from across the aisle.
 
I stood near the back. My brother was wrapped all in white; he kept trying to catch hold of the noses peering down at him. I’d asked my stepfather for instructions, as my dad hadn’t done this for me: is there a point where we should yell “Mazel tov?” Do we put my brother in a tiny chair and carry him around and sing, or is that for something else?
 
He said, “Just show up.” My brother, after today, would stand some chance at a welcoming. I would simply attend.
 
The uncle holding my brother formed a cradle with his knees. The uncle holding my mother clutched her like she was a skittish horse. Holding the knife, the robed uncle spoke Hebrew to the baby in a softer voice than I’d imagined. When the scalpel came down and the baby cried out. When my stepfather’s family embraced him and ignored me: my first taste of jealousy for what he now lacked, for what no one had asked me to lose.
 
I suppose they would all be step-uncles, these men, and I never found out if they were truly step-uncles at all. It could have just been something for me to call them. They never spoke to me, so I never found out.

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