HOW I DECEIVED LOVE 

 

When it invited me to the table,

“oh wine, wine,” I called in front of the water cup.

The letters it placed on my plate 

I swallowed backwards, its flesh and blood.

And to prove my faith

I drank it all down.

 

When I died, surprised I told it,

“I fulfilled all of your conditions

even beyond my capacity,

you are the one who could bring me back to life, and inexpensively.”

 

Love withdrew, and said “fool,

you should have called the wine water,

wear the letters on your sleeve 

and as for the poison’s libation, tell me, do you not know what a game is?”

GIVE

 

Give them an egg 

give them a pillow, a chair

give them affection, respect, give. 

To those who fell into the hunger

it starts there somewhere in the dark 

without when or now

it’s there that the drowned palm reaches out. 

From whence do you have, 

in the knowledge behind your back

like a fox in its lair,

the apple’s core,

the pirates in the treasure cave

everything that is a metaphor hands 

a cartoon bone to the dog

again and again, whether if you are the fox or a stork 

a metaphor again, we did conclude that every metaphor is a lie,

the hunger seeks out the tangible. 

The question that is the answer was always my problem,

go make an omelet out of mathematics, out of algebra,

go make yourself a life out of a simile.

Yesterday at dinner twenty-five dishes were served to me

and more, a dish every year

just to prove me that I have been to this restaurant:

Motherhood, marriage, love, books, the seasons of the year

swallowed up and erased. I’m afraid to say, I think

I have eaten life, remind me of love my beloved,

remind me of the miracle of life, remind me of the language to admit 

that the pit is just an inverted plateau. 

*

 

I bound myself to the figure seven.

When the day is already dressed in a coat and hat, not

Everyone needs to know the nude of 

Night, not everyone needs to know the figure

One. For instance, I cut through the now

With scissors, binding myself to the weight of 

Flight and sail toward the door                         

Like a frigate futilely rowing toward

The self, the island fortified away from sense

IT IS THE DESERT THAT PASSES THROUGH ME

 

Is it the desert that passes through me

or am I the desert?

What is it that doesn’t pour rain within me?

To light up the clouds’ fire, 

the pelican’s transitions from one continent to another

flapping the enormity of their wings

to dampen the sea’s leaves,

the deer’s shouts of courtship

polishes the blood

cells, the love that drowned and I have to save 

its head forcefully.

The gates will creak when they are opened in the sand.

To loosen thousand silver threads, 

that are wrapped around a chrysalis, 

to save the shape of the possible.

                                                                —translated from Hebrew by Gili Haimovich

Nurit Zarchi is one of Israel’s leading authors and has published more than a hundred books in almost every genre: novels, short stories, poetry, collections of essays and children’s literature. She has received an array of prizes that include every major Israeli literary award from poetry to children’s literature including the Prime Minister’s Prize twice (1980, 1991), the Ze’ev Prize (five times), four IBBY Honor Citations (1980, 1984, 1998, 2004), the Education Minister’s Prize for Lifetime Achievement (2005) and the Devorah Omer Prize for Lifetime Achievement (2014), the Arik Einstein Prize (2015) and the Israel Center for Educational Innovation Award for Lifetime Achievement (2016). Her work has been widely translated and her poems translated into English by Gili Haimovich have been published in variety of journals such as Nimrod Journal, Lunch Ticket, Poem  International English Language Quarterly, Voice & Verse and more.

 

Gili Haimovich is a translator and author in both Hebrew and English. She has published six volumes of poetry in Hebrew and two collections in English, Sideways Roots (Kimchi Press, 2017) and Living on a Blank Page (Ice Floe, 2007); her forthcoming volume of poetry in English, Promised Lands, will come out this year (Finishing Line). Her poetry and translations appear in numerous worldwide journals and anthologies such as World Literature Today, Poetry International, International Poetry Review, Asymptote, Nimrod Journal, Poem Magazine, LRC – Literary Review of Canada, Drain and Launch Ticket as well as Israeli ones. She was awarded the best foreign author prize of the Ossia di Sepia International Poetry Competition in Italy, 2019, and granted as an outstanding artist by the Ministry of Culture in Israel, 201,  among other prizes and nominations. 

ISSN 2632-4423

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