Keep Shekels In Your Pocket – A Poem for Haftarah Mishpatim by Rick Lupert
Jehoash was seven years old when he became king.
Can you imagine? I ask my wife
if our nine year old were suddenly
in charge of everything?
Like Johoash who was
only seven when he was given
all of Israel to rule.
I can’t imagine ours is up to
the job of keeping the sink clean
let alone the whole house
and certainly not the neighborhood
or the city at large, or any of the
other names we give to the
areas of land that are separate
from others because of borders
Every adult human who
has ever drawn a line on a map
used to be nine or seven.
I guess eventually we
all get there, especially if we’re
born into the job.
Poor Jehoash, who wasn’t poor at all,
but still managed to lose his childhood
to our kingdom
Who told everyone to
keep an extra half shekel on hand
because once a year
that half shekel was going to
leave your hand, to make room for
another and gather with
all the other half shekels
to fix the walls, and keep the
I tell our nine year old to
keep change in his pockets
because you never know.
Los Angeles poet Rick Lupert created the Poetry Super Highway (an online publication and resource for poets), and hosted the Cobalt Cafe weekly poetry reading for almost 21 years. He’s authored 21 collections of poetry, including “God Wrestler: A Poem for Every Torah Portion“, “I’m a Jew, Are You” (Jewish themed poems) and “Feeding Holy Cats” (Poetry written while a staff member on the first Birthright Israel trip), and most recently “Donut Famine” (Rothco Press, December 2016) and edited the anthologies “A Poet’s Siddur: Shabbat Evening“, “Ekphrastia Gone Wild”, “A Poet’s Haggadah”, and “The Night Goes on All Night.” He writes the daily web comic “Cat and Banana” with fellow Los Angeles poet Brendan Constantine. He’s widely published and reads his poetry wherever they let him.