September 21, 2019

The Talmud Just Told me Unicorns Exist – A poem for parsha Naso

[The Gershonite families] shall carry the curtains of the Mishkan
and the Tent of Meeting. Its covering and the tachash skin…

If it’s been your dream to be responsible for the curtains
pray that you were born a Gershonite.

The tachash skin too. (And you’ll do what you’re told
because the Cohen family is in charge and

who doesn’t love a good hierarchy?)
And if you want to know what the tachash skin is

that you’re responsible for, well, you’re not alone.
Ancient people said it is blue or violet from the hyacinth

Or the fur of the weasel, or another clean animal
that lived in the wilderness back when they invented

the curtains to end all curtains. But my favorite possibility,
of all the possibilities, is that the tachash might have been

the skin of a unicorn. Not that I think that unicorns
should ever be skinned – it’s so hard just to find one

to pet – But if the Talmud suggests that a unicorn
could have existed at all, even if it didn’t make it on the ark

even if it’s only ever half a peripheral glimpse away
even if it never moves past the stuff of my dreams,

then I might have just found something
I can believe in again.


God Wrestler: a poem for every Torah Portion by Rick LupertLos 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 23 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 “Hunka Hunka Howdee!” (Poems written in Memphis, Nashville, and Louisville – Ain’t Got No Press, May 2019) and edited the anthologies “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.