Please let a little water be taken, and bathe your feet,
and recline under the tree.
This is how everyone should greet the stranger –
With offers of water and comfort.
With fingers pointing to a place to rest.
Not with suspicion or deceit.
Not with a fear of the other.
Take my hand, whoever you are.
What can I fill you up with?
My pillows are your pillows.
This tent yours to come and go
as you please.
And Abraham said [to Sarah] “Hasten three seah of meal
[and] fine flour; knead and make cakes.”
In these days where the idea of patriarchy
stings like an ancient wasp
I can’t imagine telling my wife to
get to the baking after strangers
showed up at the door. Strangers
who I begged to come in
Strangers who I knew needed
I like the old ways, the weight of tradition
is like a magnet to the past.
But I’ll make my own cake…as soon as I
figure out what a seah is.
And to the cattle did Abraham run, and he took a calf,
tender and good, and he gave it to the youth,
Finally! The youth are getting
the cattle they deserve!
And it happened so quick, I mean
Abraham ran to the cattle
like it was Pamplona and he
wanted to get them going.
Cows…running to the youth
hoping to get milked, hoping
they can stop all this running.
I will surely return to you at this time next year, and behold,
your wife Sarah will have a son…And Sarah laughed
That wasn’t the reaction I had when
Addie told me she was pregnant.
(That’s not an announcement,
I’m referring to ten years ago.)
I stared at the note. The only
thing that was in the empty box –
I had taken off the bow.
I’d removed the tissue paper.
It was confusingly not gift season.
You’ll get your present in nine months
it said. I didn’t laugh. I was speechless
for nine months. Eventually,
I built a crib, I sold off the futon,
I cancelled the trip to Japan.
I didn’t laugh or say anything.
No reaction, or any of my
famous words, could have changed