My Own Personal Egypt – A poem for Parsha Bo (Aliyah 4)

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But if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his neighbor who is nearest to his house shall take [one] according to the number of people, each one according to one's ability to eat, shall you be counted for the lamb.

Exodus 12:4

Did I mention I grew up poor?
It was just the two of us, my mother and I.
Too small of a household to be given a lamb,
though I’m sure my mother would have taken it.

It was before I was a vegetarian so I would
have eaten anything put on a plate in front of me.
Except liver. A tween has to have his standards.
And I’m still conceptually against mayonnaise.

I had to be given so much by my neighbors.
Rides. Lunch. Occasionally new apartments.
One woman, the mother of my friend, wanted
to adopt me but mine wouldn’t hear of it.

Hold on to what is yours and expect that
riches are coming was not my mother’s motto,
verbatim, but I could read between her lines.
Lottery tickets and cigarettes were her treasures.

She never realized Las Vegas was her Egypt.
It’s different now. I’d say of course but I still
get nervous when the paycheck people call.
They’re going to take it all away my first thought.

I’m cautious and careful and frugal.
I’ve figured ways to apply lamb’s blood
to the door without it leaving a stain.
So far it’s working. Everyone is okay.

I’m able to donate to the lamb people like a
spiritual carbon offset. We juggle our morals
and do what we can. I know the difference
between Egypt and everywhere else.

These poems are offered free for your enjoyment. If you use them as part of an event, meeting, educational or liturgical setting, please consider tipping the author.

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