Issue 1 1, Winter 2015 Women Issue 2 2, Winter 2016 Humdrum
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5 Poems

Translated by Rechavia Berman


The sealed can of memory
Abruptly breached
It’s mother’s smell
As if she hasn’t been wearing out the nightgowns of her soul for thirty years now
The smell crumples me as it creates me
Five years old, I am torn from her
She dissolves in the smoke of “Europe” cigarettes
In an unwashable melancholy flower robe
As I learn, before first grade
To keep warm in my own skin
and later
To teach the walls of the house
To refute her eternal smell
With an acid of pure


Even today I can feel the fabric
Even after thirty years
A carpet of small flowers in blue and green
On wild silk
That I wrapped around my body
In a big belt of yearning
She’s dressing up as her mom again
The children said as they ripped straw and twigs from my head
Every evening she would return from the cold city
Covered in defeat
A faux leather bag in her hand
Crossing millions of miles of despair
Into the bedroom
The silk I have since buried in the closet
But even she knew
I too fell asleep naked.

 Mother tongue

The Chinese neighbor invaded
The country of conquered dreams
At five in the morning
Muffled shouting in the parking lot
The slamming door of a diplomatic vehicle
And sleep is vanquished
Her foreign tongue mumbled me throughout the day
not softly
not softly
I am a nation of ambivalent feelings
And my mother tongue is disorder

Protected Housing

Mother packed her life
And moved to protected housing
Under the social framework
She counts out her days between foreign walls
With all the others.
Her belongings are stained due
To a faded past
Trembling memory boxes
Fold me into them.
It’s not so much the housing –
Stairs lead you to the tiny room,
Which to a naked glance seem like
A one-way tunnel.
Where is the protection?
This is a blanket with sixty holes
And mother shrinks again,
Into that baby I once knew,
Her weeping will not allow
To turn off the light.
Good night yearnings,
Good night wiped-out tigress,
Upon your brilliant shards
I walk each day anew.

A dirty pile in every room

Yesterday morning the neighbor, Nava
Came up
And knocked
Blowing a huge stream of smoke in my face
And she said
Your music is killing me.
Life woke me before dawn
With a desire to do the laundry
My next of kin sleep at a foreign address
And I have a dirty pile in every room.
I shall launder no more.
You left Billie Holiday here in a vague cover
She cries to the slumbering street
Strange, expensive fruit.
Nava turned the key of the silver Hyundai
She sails away
In bitter, grayish smoke
And I want my love
To be home.