The plague is the “to do” list

Just for once, I am all caught up. And this should be the mantra,
The brucha, the Haggadah;

Freedom from our slavery is
The tearing up of lists.

Let those errands go.
The list is the affliction

My foremothers brought out of Egypt;
Busy Jewish women, tikkun olam their schedule;

Even before Moses there were tablets chiseled, headed
What to take in flight from Egypt.

Bug repellent, probably, for babies’ tender flesh
Tents to dwell in, papyrus maxi-pads

Hiking sandals, waterproof sunblock for those
Red Sea crossings. Timbrels, naturally,

For the other side.

A few thousand years later, we celebrate that freedom
With overwork and lists: whole wheat matzos,

Vegan shank bones, fair-trade egg-free macaroons
Until the hostess drops. (Call it “reclining.”)

Rebellious child, I will not clean. I will not cook.
I’ll recline in a messy house of Whole Foods take-out,

Freedom rising in my heart for eighteen minutes—
Kosher for Passover—lists ripped up

And resting, relishing the work
Of all the women who gave me my life.

Bonnie Morris is a women’s studies professor at George Washington University and the author of seven books, including Lubavitcher Women in America and the forthcoming teaching memoir Revenge of the Women’s Studies Professor.

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