Tapuzim

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Tapuzim by Hannah Cohen - Photo by Sonja Lippmann

There is a seder to your universe
that spirals and pokes and prods
tendrils of itself. It is chaotic
a clusterfuck of melodrama and circular thinking;
so you tap tap tap it down into the spongy abyss in your skull.
My savta called “Seder!” when we talked too loud
Seder! at the overgrown grass
Seder! for the intertwined fingers
Seder! at the wrinkles of her skin
and that order steeped and stained my brain
I learned my prayers from stuffy sanctuaries and you
stole them from the inside of my cheeks.
No one can contain us, snakes bat Miryam v’ Ester
My savta spits at my seder. It is full of citrus
she claims, it is bitter and drips acid from her white tablecloth.
I rush to her swollen bedside and feed her oranges
from the backyard. Out of place beside the karpas
and the charoset. Out of place against her soft eyes.
You are dangerously defiant,
damned because you leaped l’dor v’dor
to the outskirts of the Western Wall, where the grandmothers shy away
leaving only our hands, sticky sweet from fresh oranges.

Note: In the 1980s, Susannah Heschel chose an orange (instead of bread crusts, which are clearly hametz) to represent LGBTQ+ Jews on the Seder plate.
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Hannah Cohen is a member of the class of 2023 from Boulder High School in Boulder, Colorado. Her interests include violin, Model UN, her school newspaper, and enjoying living in Colorado by wandering around the mountains with her skis or her Labradoodle. When not doing the latter, she tends to be elbow-deep in flour as she attempts her latest baking concoction.
Accompanying photo: “Peeled Orange” by Sonja Lippman