The Laws of Creature Eaters – A poem for Parsha Shemini (Aliyah 6)

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These are the creatures that you may eat among all the animals on earth…

I remember what it was like to
eat the creatures of the earth.

The satisfaction of their protein.
The feeling I was really eating something.

Thirty-seven years later, I still complain
if there’s no Tofurkey at Thanksgiving.

A grown-up boy needs his meat
even if it’s the faux kind.

I wander through the restaurants of the world
longing for a leaf icon next to

a variety of choices indicating they
had me in mind when they

put their whole thing together.
The uninitiated still tell me

I think they have salads and it
only serves to make me weep.

I just want to be a regular person
in a world of creature eaters.

The only time the text speaks to me on this
is near the beginning when it says

to not eat from the tree of knowledge.
That didn’t go well and now we know too much.

Rest safely oh creatures of the day and night.
Whether you have joints and hop

or cloven feet or chew your cud.
Whether you are forbidden or allowed –

Your flesh will never pass these lips.
This is my promise. This is how I will

observe these laws. Now I’m off to have a salad
and weep.

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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