Manna

Oh how they miss the garlic, leeks,
and melons and cucumbers,
and onions that they’d fry and eat,
in quite enormous numbers––
without chopped liver, I should add,
for that’s a gourmet dish
which, like gefilte carp or chad,
is what most Jews now wish
to eat on Friday evenings
before the chicken soup
and brisket served with chicken wings
and fake-creamed cantaloupe.
Their masters used to feed them fish
and flesh, hot from the pot,
but how can they prepare a dish
from manna, which means “What? ”,
a cereal that is like the seed
of crystal coriander,
which they have got to swallow neat,
like bamboo by a panda.
“We’re sick and tired of this gruel
that falls down from the skies, ”
they say. It really isn't cool
to casually despise
the gift that daily falls from heaven,
and long for garlic, leek
when manna falls one day in seven,
twice Sabbath, every week?

Here’s not the place to say in candor
that manna was Gods seed, like sperm
He spread around like coriander;
to tell you this might make you squirm,
so I will bowdlerize this verse,
omitting such an awkward detail.
For more, for better or for worse,
please search in stores that sell me retail.

Remember while you’re blessing wine
the moral of the fable.
What’s quite enough is more than fine,
like challah on the table,
commemorating double manna
and always served in pairs,
for manna God the party planner,
for challah, after prayers
and Kiddush, planners are the Jews,
including, with great valor,
the wives whom Jewish husbands choose
because they bake the challah.

3/23/06

by gershon hepner

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