My Plant Based Renaissance — A poem for Parsha Emor (Aliyah 3)

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An ox or sheep you shall not slaughter it and its offspring in one day.

Leviticus 22:28

When I was a boy I used to go fishing at
the Erie Canal in the heart of the Empire State.

I’ve already told you about how
I never ate the fish I caught but

did I mention the time another boy
who had disguised himself as a man

down by the canal, pointed his BB gun
at a tiny bird in a bush and pulled the trigger?

It fell to the ground, not quite dead and
in an act of what must have been mercy

he crushed it with his man boot until
it moved no more.

It felt unnecessary in all the possible ways.
I remember the last bird I intentionally ate

when I had barely popped out on the
other side of legality, but was still no taller

than a titmouse. It was thousands of miles
away from the memory of that canal bird

in the famous part of the golden state.
I remember thinking this is it.

I’m not a militant vegetarian (though I have
been known to orchestrate a coup if you

leave dishes out on the counter.) You can
eat meat in front of me without apologizing.

(To me anyway…its mother may never
forgive you.) I still crave the taste and I

consider the modern-day plant-based era
we find ourselves in to be a renaissance.

The Torah tells me I should not slaughter
an animal on the same day as its parent.

And I tell the Torah it’s not going to be an
issue for me, and then go to hug my cats

and the fish, and every bird I’ve ever known.

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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