This is the week everyone who counts is counted.
A lineage established so we know the results of
all the past and future begetting.
Somehow, despite these efforts, I’m missing a
few thousand years of direct links. I know who
my grandparents were, though I never met them.
And I have seen the names and even a picture
of one or two of the people who came before them.
And sometimes the word Poland is said or
White Russia (which is not as racist as it sounds).
I think I’ve even seen a picture of a boat ticket
and an electronic record of a street someone
once lived on in Bialystok. So I can get myself
back to Europe if I do the numbers backwards,
but once I’m there it stops. There is no counting.
I don’t know which of my ancestors were responsible
for transporting the curtains and tapestries of the
Tabernacle. Perhaps none. As far as I know
we’ve never been in the curtains business.
I wonder how much money there is to be made
in curtains. I wonder which family flag those
who came before me planted in the desert.
And if it was to the north or south or any of the
other available directions spanning out from the
temporary placement of the holiest of holies.
I know Moses camped to the east. There is
something incessant with our Jewish obsession
with the east. The east side of London, the east side
of Los Angeles. It took thirty years for me to be
embarrassed that I had moved so far west.
I need a new Book of Numbers that fills in the gaps.
From now on I’m counting everything and writing it all down.
A hundred thousand Luperts into the future and
they’ll know exactly how many peaches were on
my tree. And how many fell to the ground inedible
because we’re still paying for the Golden Calf.
I’m going to leave them a note. Mind the curtains.
It’s at least a responsibility of people we knew.
And when you’re feeling so very far away
remember, even your house has
an east side. You could get there
in a second.