Charoset and Bitter Herbs
An amalgam of ground pecans, chopped apples,
red wine, and nutmeg
primes us to recall the taste of mortar—
the timeworn saga of servitude and how despots’
sovereignties always hinge on slavery.
But instead, it is sweet as honey
and reminds me that all history
is gloss, and how recollection, like nostalgia,
adds false notes of harmony to bitter herbs.
You were my mortar, when I needed horseradish
to loosen tears. You float into view
and I cringe at what I did to push you away.
Sweet and bitter are bound and every year
I recant vows with sips of soured wine.
It is only myself I risk enslaving,
immersed as I am in this freedom song.
As penance, I sometimes wonder
what it was I did to deserve you.