Exodus in a Time of Plague

By Alicia Jo Rabins
three people hiking in the desert

I used to study the holy texts
Night and day
Certain there was some
Wisdom inside those words
Which would make me live
Fully for the first time

Now I immerse myself
In the news
With the same solemn
Devotion I once gave
The rabbis I have become
Acolyte of epidemiologists

I used to whisper evening prayers
Now I recite statistics
And watch the curves
The angel of death
Draws in the air
With his wing

Which color is the line
For my city,
Which for yours?
Which of us is Pharaoh,
Which Noah?

When we leave
This narrow place
And walk out into
The glaring desert beyond,
Will we recognize each other
In that light?


From the series, "Bathtub Pandemic Poems"

Poem