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Second Seder

A poem by Andrea Cohen for Passover and National Poetry Month

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In 2011, Tablet marked the April convergence of National Poetry Month and Passover with a podcast featuring Andrea Cohen and several other poets discussing themes of liberation, ritual, journeying, and food in their work. This year, we’re delighted to bring you a poem by Andrea Cohen about Passover.

Second Seder

My father forgets where
light bulbs go, how long

a three-minute egg
should cook, or to mention

he’s got a new wife.
She moved in with her own

ghosts. She isn’t evil and
remembers not to wear

many of my mother’s dresses.
At Passover she finds

a shank bone and roasts
it, she finds the awkward

bowl I made my mother
(clay—the bowl, my mother)

when I was ten. My mother
kept gumdrops, bedside, in it.

The second wife fills it with salt
water. My people are always

leaving: any vessel, for dipping
bitter herbs, suffices.

Andrea Cohen’s work has appeared in the New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Poetry, The Threepenny Review, Glimmertrain, The New Republic, The Hudson Review and elsewhere. Her fourth poetry collection, Furs Not Mine, is forthcoming from Four Way Books. She directs the Blacksmith House Poetry Series in Cambridge, MA, and the Writers House at Merrimack College.

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Second Seder

A poem by Andrea Cohen for Passover and National Poetry Month

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