Daily April poem: sidewalks (or lack thereof)
Daily April poem: riffing off of a 30/30 prompt

Daily April poem: a Biblical erasure poem


Any person shall be holy.
You must treat them as holy
outside the sanctuary.

No man may
enter behind the curtain --
instruct them throughout the ages.

As soon as the sun sets
if a daughter marries
she may eat.

When any man
presents a burnt offering
it must be a male.

A sacrifice must be
blind, or injured, or maimed
bruised or crushed or torn or cut.

Sacrifice it
so that it may be
in your favor.



The folks at NaPoWriMo invited the writing of erasure poems. I've been reading daily erasure poems from Dave Bonta at Via Negativa for a while now (see The Pepys Erasure Project so far), so I was excited at the prospect of trying to create my own. Instead of working from an existing poem, I worked from part of last week's Torah portion, parashat Emor -- specifically from Leviticus chapters 21 and 22.

As a poet, I'm fascinated by the erasure process. As a rabbi, I do want to point out (in case it isn't clear) that this erasure process has substantially changed the text of Leviticus -- this is not what the Torah portion says! It's interesting to contemplate the version of scripture which would have argued that only women may enter into the Holy of Holies, or that in order to be fit for sacrifice an animal needed to be damaged rather than whole.

Below the cut: images of the erasure, so you can see how these words were carved out of the text.