On Rosh Hashanah in Adar
Happy new year, of a sort

Family (a poem about being stuck, for Big Tent Poetry)





We're stuck with each other:
the woman in patchwork crochet
with her picket sign
and the man whose fury
fills an emailed cascade

the students who say
give us a seat at the table
and the ones who say
you are beyond the pale
go have dinner somewhere else

everyone heartsick and weary
and everyone hopeful
and everyone who wishes
they could elide
the entire conversation

each of us, wherever we are
bound by this thin filament
which does not care
whether we like each other
or how passionately we disagree

This week's Big Tent Poetry prompt invites us to write a poem about being stuck somewhere. I took that in a slightly different direction, reflecting on my sense that -- as this poem's first line indicates -- we're all "stuck" with each other.

Some of the things I was thinking about as I wrote this poem include the story of ideological clashes between students at Brandeis (see JTA's Brandeis Hillel excludes a controversial group on Israel, generating debate and the Globe's Brandeis groups clash over stance on Israel) and the killings in the settlement of Itamar about which I wrote a few days ago. But the poem arises out of a bigger sense of connectedness beyond our disagreements.

My dear friend Rhonda spoke in an email this week (quoted with permission) about modeling that we are all responsible for each other... about making Shabbos with people you seriously disagree with, and realizing that we are all part of Clal Yisrael. I wish I could feel, right now, that more of us were interested in seeing one another as family despite our differences. In the Jewish community, or in the world at large.

Here's a link to this week's Come One, Come All post so you can see how others responded to this poetry prompt. Shabbat shalom.