Passing Through – A poem for Parsha Chukat

July 7, 2022

You shall not pass through me,
lest I go out towards you with the sword!
-Numbers 20:18

In a television program I am watching
on a premium streaming television network
that you’ve probably heard of

a superhero (because all filmed and
televised entertainment now revolves
around superheroes)

passes through a person so fast
on the streets of New York City
that she, essentially, vaporizes

in front of the onlooking eyes of
her horrified boyfriend. Although I don’t think
the ancient king of Edom saw this episode

one can generally understand
an initial trepidation before letting someone
or a kingdom of someones, pass through.

I personally like to keep the roads clean
and back then, when nothing was paved
you can imagine having to tidy up

two million sets of footprints.
This is the practicality of mine, not yours.
This is what happens when our ownership

takes priority over our humanity.
Nation after nation has said no when
we needed a place to go.

Even boat-loads of Israelites were
turned away from our own land in the forties,
when we needed it the most.

I choose human over passport authentication.
I choose real need over that’s not your water.
I never choose sword for any reason.

(outside of little plastic ones that
occasionally show up in cocktails.
But even then it’s awkward.)

Pass through, my friends.
My fellow humans.
We’re all in this together.

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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