I used to search for you in the pro­duce
aisle at Stop & Shop before Passover.
You were lanky and gnarled, your rooty
rump fresh from the soil, medieval
like a spiky veg­e­tar­i­an blud­geon,
ready for bat­tle. You were more
than a girl like me would need for show
on the seder plate and my oblig­a­tory bite
of bit­ters. I buried you to grow inva­sive
as a weed, then dera­ci­nate you
before the hol­i­day each year,
unclench­ing your stub­born claws.
I chop you, give chunks away to those
who think you come nat­u­ral­ly magen­ta,
steeped in vine­gar and beets from a jar.
When they taste the real you,
unvar­nished, flat bread and flash­backs
thrash in their packs, as they pray
for release from unsung servi­tudes,
tears run­ning down their cheeks.

This piece is a part of the Berru Poet­ry Series, which sup­ports Jew­ish poet­ry and poets on PB Dai­ly. JBC also awards the Berru Poet­ry Award in mem­o­ry of Ruth and Bernie Wein­flash as a part of the Nation­al Jew­ish Book Awards. Click here to see the 2023 win­ner of the prize. If you’re inter­est­ed in par­tic­i­pat­ing in the series, please check out the guide­lines here.

Pamela Wax, an ordained rab­bi, is the author of Walk­ing the Labyrinth (Main Street Rag, 2022) and the forth­com­ing chap­book, Starter Moth­ers (Fin­ish­ing Line Press). Her poems have received a Best of the Net nom­i­na­tion and awards from Cross­winds, Pater­son Lit­er­ary Review, Poets’ Bil­low, Oberon, and the Robin­son Jef­fers Tor House. She has been pub­lished in lit­er­ary jour­nals includ­ing Bar­row Street, About Place Jour­nal, Tupe­lo Quar­ter­ly, Mud­fish, Con­necti­cut Riv­er Review, Nau­gatuck Riv­er Review, Pedestal, Split Rock Review, Six­fold, and Pas­sen­gers Jour­nal. She offers spir­i­tu­al­i­ty and poet­ry work­shops online from her home in the North­ern Berk­shires of Massachusetts.