Friday, January 22, 2021

This Way and That – A poem for Parsha Shemot

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He turned this way and that way, and he saw
that there was no man; so he struck the Egyptian
and hid him in the sand.
Exodus 2:12

Once in a Kmart in DeWitt, New York
while my mother was grocery shopping
at the Price Chopper next door

I came across the Nerf Football section.
Before I tell you more, I want you to know
this was at least forty years ago

so the statute of limitations on
whatever it is that happened, has
long since run out.

And if it isn’t, please note
this is fiction, a fantasy in a poem
as some also regard the Torah to be.

I picked up the Nerf Football.
I turned this way and that and saw
there was no man, or parent.

I threw the football as hard as I could
over the aisle towards, I think,
where the photo studio was.

I heard a crash and a scream.
Maybe. It was so long ago,
I might have heard nothing

and have been embellishing
my memory of these events, like
some say we do with the Torah

I walked briskly back to the
Price Chopper where I met my mother
in the cereal aisle.

Nothing has been said about this
incident since then, unlike Moses’ act
when he turned this way and that

unsure, unlike me who knew, whether
what he was doing was right or wrong.
He took a life in defense of a life.

This act has been spoken of
ever since, immortalized in films,
glossed over at Passover.

I admit to having no convictions
that day in DeWitt…But that day in Egypt
when Moses crossed his line

it started the process
which brought us

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 25 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 “The Tokyo-Van Nuys Express” (Poems written in Japan – Ain’t Got No Press, August 2020) 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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