Ken Seide 


Haggadot #1


The Haggadot record my life
in quantities aligned on the shelf.
Who knows 13?
I know 13.
Thirteen is the number of Haggadot
illustrated with torn-paper collages
the number of Haggadot
from when I led sederim in my own house
at my own table
and the children there
were my own.
“But if the household is too small for a lamb”
God told us back in Mizrayim
watching our families fragment
“let him share one with a neighbor
who dwells nearby.”
Because I belong to a stiff-necked people
I insist on leading a seder
for a remnant of my family.
My younger daughter and I
have our choices of Haggadot,
thirteen Haggadot for two people.

Who knows 3? I do.
Three is the number of Haggadot
with the yellow, red, and black cover.
I once owned four
but I left one behind in Luanda
at the home of the Israeli ambassador
in case another American
with an atrocious Hebrew accent
and laughable tune for Had Gadya
sojourns through Angola on this night
of blood and death and fleeing.
I don’t replace it because
the missing Haggadah
tells quite a story.


©2017 Ken Seide



Haggadot #2


My Haggadot are annotated,
commentary written in wine stains,
in margins,
across pages,
annotations I can’t read.
The splotches make no sense,
neither does my life,
and I don’t take the Rorschach test,
of wine stains on the pages,
for fear what I would see.


©2017 Ken Seide




Tikkun Leyl Shavuot


I was awake all night, but not studying.
Or not studying text.
At midnight, when the heavens open
for an instant
and God grants our sincerest prayers,
I was in bed,
albeit not asleep.
“Did the heavens open for you?”
she asked.
“Was your prayer answered?”
I asked,
“Study me again,
she said.


©2017 Ken Seide





Ken Seide is the pen name of a resident of Newton, Mass. His poems have appeared in Soul-Lit, Midstream, Poetica, New Vilna Review, Voices Israel, SN Review, Kerem, Napalm and Novocain, Rat’s Ass Review/Love & Ensuing Madness, and other publications. His short stories have appeared in Poetica, Cyclamens and Swords, and Pound of Flash.