(Todd Terwilliger)

The Scroll is adding to our poetry output with Scroll Verse, a recurring feature that presents the works of Jewish poets–or in some cases, poets who write on Tablet themes or have Jewish souls. Last week’s stellar poem was “Hell: A Jew in Maine” by Allen Lowe. Our latest installment features an excellent poem by Sheera Talpaz.


Most People Are Bad

…at everything. – Louis C.K.

even at knowing they’re bad. They light up
with ideas as often as they self-immolate.

Have you always been this cynical? What first date
repartee. Have you always been this? This this?

Most people, baby, most people. Blanket them
with a heavy, fireproof thing – a term of endearment.

They won’t be able to run.

You and I aren’t most people, you say, in apparent
romantic gesture. I beg to differ: a Jew with cheeseburger

is most people. A girl seasick from her own fickleness.
Who are you if not most people? What are you

if not a little bit of everything? You say many words
of false teeth, words enshrined in porcelain veneer.

You feel out my responses, as though you could
resurrect dead languages or

bargain your way into great coincidence,
a thing most people mistake for a miracle.

We are very much alike, I fear. In you there is
repulsive music. I hold your slightly sweaty hand.


Sheera Talpaz is a graduate of the MFA program at the University of Michigan, where she received a Hopwood Award in poetry. Her essays, poetry, and reviews have appeared in The Rumpus, The Collagist, La Petite Zine, and other journals. She currently lives in Princeton, NJ, where she studies Near Eastern poetry.