December 7, 2019

Chayei Sarah

Image by Gilles-Photo/Getty Images

I

What is it with this this mortal impermanence?
You live and do things and the end is inevitable.

Like a story called life which begins with a death.
A reminder all our narratives have the same end game.

On the same day as a Syracuse mother’s yahrzeit.
on the same day that a Van Nuys wife

travels to Pennsylvania to bury her grandmother.
We don’t live into our hundreds like our founding parents.

But ninety-four is pretty good.
Let’s all live to ninety-four.

II

It used to be you could travel to your uncle’s house
and marry the first girl you found at the well.

So what if you had the same grandfather.
There were limited options and, back then,

population explosion wasn’t even a thing.
There is value in water, and a woman who brings it

is a giver of life. Always marry a woman who gives you water,
who tends to your camels without having been asked.

III

Oh California, you are so thirsty.
I had to travel to Wisconsin just to have a drink.

My well is still there, though I brought my Rebekah home.
Her name is spelled and pronounced differently in this world.

But I am never without a soothing beverage.
Even as Sarah is laid into the ground.

Dig deeper California. Separate the salt from the ocean.
May we live on your ground as long as our matriarchs.


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