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So where, dear Nathan, my son, have you gone? Your voice eclipsed, insubstantial as gauze. I lay a Haggadah by a chair, unoccupied. Unearth my Seder plate, place upon it shank bone, egg, parsley, bitter herbs. My bitter tears. Once I braided god in the sinews of my body, armor against pain. Once I leashed god to my fragmented heart, constant taunt that I still lived. Do you look for my face in the nether world? Search the blue emptiness between clouds, the space between drops of rain? Vanquish the past. I want no messiah, no Elijah in his chariot trailing fire. Bequeath me a tempest to hurl open the door, make wine shudder in its cup, return to me in the fulsomeness of your fierce beauty. --
Author’s note: My son came home from rehab on the first night of Passover 12 years ago. It’s never been the same for me since.
Valerie Bacharach is a poet and writer who lives in Pittsburgh.
Copyright 2022 Valerie Bacharach