In an Entire Ruined Village and at the Jaffa Expulsion

Mati Shemoelof reading poetry. 2013. From Ars poetics events. photo by Genady Sh
Mati Shemoelof reading poetry. 2013. From Ars poetics events. photo by Genady Sh

In an Entire Ruined Village and at the Jaffa Expulsion 

Translated from the Hebrew by Chana Morgenstern

Listen my mother

A satisfied white rat

Convinced the contractor

To dine with the supervisor

To feed the politician

To sleep with the judge

And to flatten the history of the people

A great rat, mom, I swear I saw her chewing on the ruins

hungrily, and her excrement is the culture

that eats and can never be filled

And why am I telling you this, O mother,

Maybe because I feel like it can’t go on this way

We have to stand together

In front of the rat and scream the pain of the bites

You’re right mom,

We aren’t rats

But the marks on the body

The ruin in the eyes

Have already passed to my daughter

Who asks how it is that we

Didn’t do anything.

 

From “Why don’t I write Israeli love poems” published by Nahar Books, 2010.

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