Passover 5780

by Alicia Jo Rabins

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as our ancestors
painted their doorposts
with lamb’s blood
stayed inside and held
their children close

we wash our hands
wipe down our shopping carts
and keep our kids
off the playground
for the first time in their lives

in this plague spring
when the leaders fail us
we try to keep each other
alive we are midwives
of solitude and survival

when a baby is born
a mother touches the membrane
between life and death
and is forever changed
as we are changed

by this shadow
which approaches
closer every day
what is there to do
but lift up what we love

chanting pass over us,
angel of death, pass over
us all, turn back into the myth
you used to be before
you became the news

Alicia Jo Rabins
Alicia Jo Rabins is a writer, musician, composer, performer, and Torah teacher. Her work explores the intersection of ancient wisdom texts with everyday life. Divinity School, Rabins’ first book of poetry, won the 2015 American Poetry Review Honickman First Book Prize. Her second book of poetry, Fruit Geode, was a finalist for the Jewish Book Award. (Author photo by Jason Quigley.)

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