I Love a Good List Poem – A poem for Parsha Vayigash

December 29, 2022

And these are the names of the children of Israel who were coming to Egypt.
-Genesis 46:8

I love a good list poem.

Seventy souls came from the land
we were shown down to Egypt –
The sons, a daughter or two –

Egypt was never a good idea
but, when climate dries the land
it’s time to move.

The plight of the Colorado River
must sound so familiar to
our ancestors.

Everybody and their mother
makes the trip, though, as is
the custom of the patriarchy

the mothers aren’t mentioned.
It’s okay, you migrate to Egypt
I’ll sit here in the dust.

Wear a sweater.
I love a good list poem and
everyone is mentioned by name

(except the wives.) Even Muppim
is there, I assume he was the
forebear of Kermit.

I’d like to tell you more, but it’s
really just a roster. Which, if you’ve
ever been on tour bus in Israel

makes sense as before the
gas pedal gets pressed, after
you’ve set foot on rocks the

Romans kicked around, you
need to count off, make sure
all your souls are present before

you head off to the Naot factory
or to crawl through a cave or touch
your fingers to a retaining wall.

Every soul must be accounted for.
Even the ladies, if for some reason
you don’t want to mention their names.

Remember, it’s always a good idea
to go to Israel. But never to leave.
Especially not to Egypt.

You’ll see.

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 26 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 “I Am Not Writing a Book of Poems in Hawaii” (Poems written in Hawaii – Ain’t Got No Press, August 2022) 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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