January 19, 2020

Poem: Lech Lecha

Photo by Hiten Kumar/EyeEm/Getty Images

Consider the very first jew — Abraham.
Not even his name when the whole thing started.
Had a reputation. The kind of kid
who would destroy the family business.

out of principle. Married the first nice Jewish girl.
Neither of them actually Jewish
when the whole thing started.
The very first converts. Broken idols
noticed by the One who would not be idolized.

The One who gave them the deal of a lifetime.
Go to the shown place. Pack up everything.

No-one likes to move. Something’s going to get broken.
Something’s going to get lost.
But consider what was gained.

Longer names … holier names …

and a bloodline long enough
to see the whole world still trying
to get to the shown place.

I’d like to trade all my possessions
for the Hebrew letter hey.

Pick up extra work as a star in the sky
promised to an ancient ancestor.

That deal you made, Father Abraham.
The ink’s still drying.
I’m a grain of sand.

Los Angeles poet Rick Lupert, a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, is the author of 21 books of poetry.