January 19, 2020

The Secret History of the Fruit in Your Bowl – A poem for parsha Ki Tavo

I have brought the first of the fruit of the ground which
You, O Lord, have given to me.

Ask the child where the fruit comes from and
they will tell you the bowl on the table, or they
might say the drawer in the fridge, or maybe you
have one of those hanging things with three tiers
and one is for garlic, and one has squash and
maybe the fruit is in the bottom.

But this is not where your fruit comes from.
You can trace it back to the market (either super
or farmer’s), and if you’re a detective you might
picture a truck on the highway (or freeway if
you’re from where I’m from) where a single
lemon leaps to its destiny every handful of miles.

And if you’re really into forensics you might see
farmers directing people whose hands are in the dirt
or scratched by branches…whose hours spent in the sun
create all kinds of conditions until all they want
to do is sleep and sleep and sleep.

But the mystery is revealed in the miracle of the dirt
and the water and the way the sun makes them
all kiss until life bursts out of the ground which
no-one could make happen because it was
already happening by the time we got a handle on it.

This is why we take our first fruits and honor them
and the One who gives the fruit. Who made a thousand
invisible processes happen so you could walk
out of your room in the morning and take an
apple out of a bowl and put it in your mouth and
reap all the benefits.

Acknowledge the miracle of the fruit bowl.
I realize I’ve already used the word miracle.
But that’s the nature of these things. You need to
keep saying it until you know all the good you’ve got.
Miracle, miracle, miracle. Don’t let that word
leave the sweet taste in your mouth.

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.

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