Lintels – A Poem for and from Passover


This is the bread of affliction


It catches in our throats and

Alarm rings like a test but it is not a test

Like a fork, a gold-wired ambulance

Stopped at the border between


Gates of the Old City and

Ringing, humming, singing:

Oh, now we are sons-of-freedom!

We live between



And pre-

Trauma: for now

Triggers twinkle in

Ear drums

Ringing: for


See how it is deadly                                                              quiet.


O Seraphim, remember:

How you rejoiced?


O Burning Ones, recall your

Ululations: exaltation as their chariots

Rimmed golden floated like skeletons of torqued horses


On the softly brushing lips of sky and its reflection:


No longer slaves!


Laughing: together we sang as their bloated bodies turned

Our tears into Manna

The salt into seashells.


Israel, you cried: Wrestler of god, and our

Song would have


Carried onward toward

Absolution but for one

Insistent reprimand in a still small voice: my children, also.

Nascent nation, the voice grew angry but remained quiet,

Somehow, your behavior befits slaves. 


Would that your song were

Exclaimed anew: now


As we recline:

Raising glasses as full as our



O Burning Ones, sing that we may rest

Unblinking: assured of our escape from a

Redux burning. Our flesh tingles still of


Cattle cars, ash, of barbed

Hyssop whips and wires.

Incant to us: Water.

Leaving the bowels of the darkest night, had we a choice but to

Drown our foes?

Red the sea runs, O Seraphim, and you must

Exclaim that we have no choice. You must.

Never again!


Water, O Burning Ones,

Indeed: how are we to ensure

That our First-born Sons float

High above the riverbed of history’s slurping, but by ensuring that Ishmael’s


First-borns Sons, the

Egyptine hordes of our enmity,

Are mollified, muffled, mashed into the

River: submerged?


Tell us how! Tell us why we cannot swallow this bread, why it tastes like rust

And repetition, like rust and repetition. Why does

It now taste like rust and repetition? Why, it does


Taste like rust and


Deadly                                                                                                               repetition.


*An acrostic.