Leann Shamash
Author of the blog Words Have Wings

The Morning After

The Morning After (photo by Leann Shamash)

This poem about the day after the Seder was inspired by the following verse in Parshat Tzav:

The priest shall dress in linen raiment, with linen breeches next to his body; and he shall take up the ashes to which the fire has reduced the burnt offering on the altar and place them beside the altar. He shall then take off his vestments and put on other vestments, and carry the ashes outside the camp to a pure place. Leviticus 6:3,4 (Taken from Sefaria)

Parshat Tzav describes what to do with the leftovers of sacrifice and how to dispose of the ashes, even describing how the priest must change out of his ceremonial clothing in order to remove the ashes.

Fast forward, this poem takes us to the morning after the seders and those few quiet moments of clean up, including taking out the trash.

May you have a joyous and meaningful Pesach….even taking out the trash afterwards.

The Morning After

On the morning after

there is time to clean up

following the yearly seder

so carefully prepared.

No longer in finery,

sweat pants hang softly over slippered feet.

Emptied wine glasses crisscross the table,

Stains blossom rosy pink on the white tablecloth.

Armies of matzah crumbs litter the scene.

Balled napkins compete for space with cracked corks and torn scallions.*

The Seder plate appears forlorn;

the lonely egg, dried charoset, the parsley sadly wilted.

Some Haggadot are still open to the final page,

still hoping for next year in Jerusalem;

waiting to be closed and returned to the shelves.

On the morning after,

chairs sit empty, yet still huddled together in small pods.

Just hours ago there were people who sat on these chairs

who look a little older;

but rosy cheeked from all the wine.

All so beloved.

They popped in and out like Elijah the prophet himself.

All that remains now are crooked tables

and wine cups with hints of their lips on the rims.

On the morning after there is time to sit among the crumbs

silently leafing through a haggadah in a now peaceful dining room

as the morning sun pours in.

On the morning after,

sturdy tables are stacked against the wall.

Folding chairs are returned to hibernate in the basement below.

Tablecloths are balled up tight and shaken off the back porch.

A thousand crumbs drop for the birds and squirrels to eat.

On the morning after,

a battalion of unmatched pots and pans line up on the counter

waiting to be washed and


back into crowded Passover spaces.

On the morning after,

there are mountains of dishes to wash.

Thoughts wander to the night before as soapy water warms hands.

A steamy time to revisit,

savoring a night that passed in a flurry of actions.

Thoughts settle as dishes are stacked to dry.

In a blink, another seder has passed.

On the morning after there is plenty of trash.

Chicken bones, gravy stained napkins,

snippets of horseradish roots,

endless bottles of wine;

covered now in white plastic bags,

pulled tight with red ties.

It’s time to bring the bags down to the trash bins

Slowly exiting the kitchen;

a bag in each hand,

to put what was just last night so central

into the bin.

A Seder in a bag….

As the lid is closed there is a thought.

Perhaps there should be a blessing for the remnants,

for the trash,

for that which helped make the ceremony.

Helped further a people’s history.

At least a moment of appreciation,

for that which is no longer commanded,

that which is no longer beautiful,

that which has served,

but is no longer necessary.

One last,



to thank.

A lingering glance backwards

and then a sigh.

We have moved on.

We always move on.

Slippered feet pad up the steps to the house.

The leftovers are waiting.

* Why scallions? It is a Persian custom hit each other with scallions during Dayeinu.

About the Author
After a career in Jewish education, Leann Shamash is the author of the blog Words Have Wings, which addresses the parsha of the week through poetry.
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