(My) Four Children

The following is an excerpt from Fragments, the new magazine from Emor.

by Zach Luck

A lifetime of hearing
the miniature stories
of 8 lines
of the 4 Sons 

Did not prepare me
for having 4 Children for
sitting at my desk
wondering if i can teach them 
how to free themselves 
from slavery or anything else. 

This year they are playing their roles — in order — 

One is Learned, sophisticated 8, studying the
Hogwarts Haggadah like a sturdy scroll

One is Rebellious, ready to run, be done with us,
6, and sick of our stories 

One is Simple, 4, facing a confusing world,
demanding glue to repair his delicate plastic seder plate

One does not know how to ask, she is 2,
told me we will have apple cake for dinner 

The Rabbis give these little lists of what a Father must teach his Sons: 
the Torah, a trade, how to swim, how to get along.

They get so much wrong
(i wouldn’t leave him to the slave masters, i won’t even let him leave
late for school). 

But I plead with myself, to learn 

from the tiny, truncated stories, if I teach them 

to bike
and read 

it will be enough,
that they will figure out Freedom on

their own.

Passover 2022

Zach Luck is a father of four children. He lives in Ohio. This is the first poem he has published.