Jacob and Esau

Jacob and Esau, you will fight.
Like Isaac and Ishmael before you
and Joseph and his brothers after,
you will contend. This is your lot.
It is our nature.

But it is not your fight.
You were born into it.
You are Isaac and Rebekah’s rivalry,
and they will entangle you in it.
You are two nations.
You are all people.

You “despise your birthright,”
deny your belovedness and belonging,
think you can steal it.
And you despise your brother,
think you can walk away from him,

escape your brotherhood.

But you can’t escape: you’re family.
All the hungry, all the un-belonging,
they are yours.

And why do you struggle?
To find yourself.
To set yourself off from those closest,
to be not-them,

yet bound.
It is to be reconciled, to achieve
that gift that cannot be purely given
but must be wrought, and then received.
You’re not trying to untangle the knot
but tie it tighter with that brother

who after all your wrestling
will fall on your neck,
and kiss you
and you will weep.


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