Reminders – A poem for Torah Portion Korach

June 10, 2021

…the censers of these who sinned…and they shall make them
into flattened out plates as an overlay for the altar…and they
shall be as a reminder for the children of Israel.
Numbers 17:3

In the back yard of my old house
a stone Buddha with a smile like dinnertime
and a belly like many dinnertimes gone by
sits on a small, rectangular plot of land
surrounded by brick, stucco, and sidewalk.
Deep under his feet, commingled with soil,
a box, and a veterinary towel, lay the
remains of my first three cats.

Buddha’s never-ending joviality reminds us
of the joy those three gave us – their nighttime
purrs and pounces, their bodies on our chests
when our morning eyes first opened.
Buddha keeps their souls safe in that space
while we’ve moved on to another one.

On my computer, every Wednesday
words pop up to remind me what I once did
and to never do that again. I could turn it off
but I wouldn’t dare.

Millennia ago, even though I was there,
after the ground swallowed up the heretics
we took their frying pans, melted them down
and decorated our holiest space.
Not for the aesthetic, but so whenever we
went there we’d be reminded of what they did
and never do it again.

I think that’s why we hoard the objects of our past
the useless memoirs that only take up space
to remind us of what was, good and bad.
We make museums of our lives. I’m already
laying out the admission fees for those yet to come.
What we do here matters, good and bad.
Our knickknacks, our statues…all that is left
when the ground swallows us up.

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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