February 27, 2020

Poem: Vayigash

Like Joseph, I know what it’s like to
not have a father for decades.

Mine, hidden in the Egypt of Texas
pretending he was someone else

while I built my empire in
the land of California.

Like Joseph’s brothers, it was me
who showed up on his doorstep.

But I knew exactly who he was.
Unlike the brothers, I wasn’t there for wheat

or fancy coats. I just wanted to make sure
the space between would

no longer be measured in decades.
A cautionary lunch ensued

and then he brought me my sister
like Benjamin, only, a girl.

America became our land of Goshen
and we continue to flourish

Like the familial bond between Joseph
and his brothers, there is nothing to forgive.

We didn’t move to Texas, of course
the Egypt of our story.

I read ahead in the text and
it turns out things go south down there.

No-one wants to move twice.
But there is an airplane ticket in the future.

Next week, in fact. Round trip.
The first family lives on.

Rick Lupert, a poet, songleader and graphic designer, is the author of 23 books including “God Wrestler: A Poem for Every Torah Portion.”