On the Impossibility of Passover
by Robert Cohen
‘On Passover we celebrate as if we ourselves have been set free’
On my journey
To the Promised Land
My feet have become entangled
In the roots of upturned trees
Across the Jordan
I see homes turned to rubble
By the strong hand and the outstretched arm
Blocking the path to righteousness
Deliverance is held up at the checkpoint
Freedom chooses hunger
To make its case
And what is there left to celebrate
With timbrels and dancing?
I ask my questions
Eat bitter herbs
And count the plagues that we have sent
Grafitti on the Separation Wall in the West Bank. Credit: Robert Cohen
We have melted our inheritance
To cast a new desert idol
And the words from Sinai
Are crushed beneath its hooves
There is no Moses to climb the mountain a third time
Elijah is detained indefinitely
The mission is lost
Freedom is drowned
And the angels gather to weep
It is the first night of the Feast of Freedom
I open the Haggadah
Place olives on the Seder plate
And confront the impossibility of Passover
This year in Mitzrayim
This year in the narrow place
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