December 7, 2019

A Poem For Parsha Vayera

Rock close to the banks of the Dead Sea called “Lot’s Wife” Photo by Robert Hoetink/Getty Images

I

A child is born.
They name him laughter.
Another child is sent away
as if blood doesn’t exist.

The original seeds
of a divided Jerusalem
are sown right here.
Hardly anyone laughs there now.

II

Every day Sodom and Gomorrah
happen in front of my house.
I’m taking a census of the righteous

in my neighborhood.
I’m having trouble getting to the number one.
I want the police to take them away

their trash too.
We could use a localized gentrification.
A pillar of salt.

III

Despite my son’s worst behavior
I don’t think I could take him to the rock
no matter Who asked.

Abraham should have argued.
He was already famous for that.
Nothing to prove.

Let us make a covenant with life.
Reserve salt, only for our tongues.
Open the tent to all our children.


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