FROM “AVIVA-NO”, CRADLE SONG, SDEROT, A WALK
I’m in a state of how does it go and I shall call it Aviva-no I shall call it sisterless
and I shall speak of it with straightforwardness not by way of verse but by pain
and thus is its Law it has no Law – stifling-breath angels and blazing-eyed
beasts, in the internet above and the buried books below, it has no
Law, it is only the moment piercing space like a pin into glass
and the heart is arrested and named mere breath
for the three hundred and sixty five minas of smoke within it
against the count of three hundred and sixty five days of.
And I did not know that I would have to live
your death, and how easily
it would fit into words. Just as Mother
explained to the grandchildren, we will
never see Aviva again. And I heard
her cry, not that howling
lamentation, just the flow
of one whose strength vanished in the flame.
And they asked, caught up in wondering,
if you climbed up to a star, what
would you do if it fell, would you be hungry.
And she put them in the bomb
shelter and came sobbing to
the living room where I sat
how simple it is to see
in the dark, like an ember glowing wild –
losing a child means always losing a child.
One can sing of rain, the mightiness
of water, all through the shiv’ah corpulent clouds
rubbed against the softness
of the mourners’ tent, and of the slightest of them one can sing,
now on Shevat dawn,
kafir over the greyish lawn, there your childhood,
and there your fallen life is crammed:
Your locks are full of shards
after a shower, through which you’ve run your fingers
and did not brush, even when they chided, a smile on your lips,
you read Austen, that British bitch has
a sharp wit, as fog dwellers usually do, outline of geography,
and the comments of amazement, reddish
upon the copied desert maps, distances
you’ve crossed, fixed within Sderot, asphalt lines
reaching your students, disquieting problems
Could you have guessed all this was
before you came to know it,
because the future has occurred and it’s blowing
your way you
who are time resistant –
The end of time has wakened, will
you not hear, in the air’s fortress,
among the dewdrops, the almond tree quivers at its blossoms, no,
it has quivered,
no, the planted trees have dried out, the growing flora have expired, the earth has vomited
its heart, and it’s enormous,
breathing your breath, light had descended like iron,
so refined, filled its space below
the whole world has broken so, facing Aviva-no.
I recall the flame tree made taut with summer
its reddish dawn is
the Strip of fire.
Nothing’s scorched, skin
nor sight: it’s here we came, my sweaty
And here you set me down, showed me
the books. A braid you had,
there were your eyes, you did not know
you were already.
Thirteen years old, delivered from
the flesh, breathing air whose
nature is unknown. And the world
trembled, the world raged, thrusts of light
like chariots. You grasped
the movement, the dismemberment, you raised
your eyes but horizon there was none,
cranes of warblers lashed the ground,
and dandelion scaffolds
cling, reaching where.
Thirty years you lingered in the here. Walked with us
a touch at most, almost
never tempted by the human din. We in the profanum vulgus
racing through urban sprawl, crossing seas –
Paris, Florence, London, a bundle of appalling flesh and marble,
which did not cease with your cessation
and you’re with us, at our side, in your here, craving
love, casting sentences over the distance,
but never shackled.
We knew you utterly without knowing
one fraction. If redemption is losing
the self, then who is
Translated by Yael Segalovitz Eshel
There are children in the morning,
They are leaning out for love,
And they will lean that way forever
– Leonard Cohen
Forever missing the mark,
Consumed with love, like a match,
Bent over a book.
Kislev dissolves into the air.
A clumsy moon pounds against the ribcage of the street, herds
Of fog trample in the dark.
When he gapes his hands
On the elusive table,
In his cold, done sleep,
It’s hard to believe he once crossed the ocean and once
In the shrunken houses of Morocco,
The end of the forties,
The cradle of time.
Translated by Orit Krugilansky
It took me twenty years to love
this hole in the middle of nowhere.
The cotton balls spread a white flame
and there was an ill wind in the cypresses
until for the first time I saw,
with a just eye,
the unsophisticated houses under the roof of clouds,
until I heard
the wonderful murmur of the street.
The last whisper emitted by the waves of asphalt
with the bang of the evening on the ground,
like the voice of a forgotten woman that had betrayed her
and told the truth she tried
to hide in her face.
Decades of wear and tear
have taught the children to caress the water in the stone,
to float paper boats in puddles with ridiculous hope.
The circus past of the girls bloomed in the swirl of a skirt
when the gaze of the crowd sawed through it.
Only loveless places are worthy of absolute love.
Translated by Vivian Eden
Look at the foliage now,
its audacity to be woven under
the perils of meteors, in the shortlived sunlight.
Its quietude to imprison
a shivering wind.
Lamplights tumor metastasizing on paper skies
eaten by an insistent flame.
Scabs of salt on rubble of rocks.
A shadow loses itself within shadows.
Close to that point
my conviction is running out
like blood from offended face.
Look at the water
it is only a realization of the idea of flowing
and the fish are only a barrier between
the definition of the waves
and the feeling of the sea.
For a moment I didn’t believe this insight
would help me carry
the huge expanses of air.
There, you too are growing distant, as father do, in the smugness
of a satisfied predator
leaving behind the carcass of its prey.
Translated by Katie Ford and the author