My Arabic is Mute & Not to be afraid to say the word nostalgia

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Almog Behar – Ills.: Joseph Sassoon Semah

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Arabic is Mute

Strangled in the throat
Cursing itself
Without uttering a word
Sleeping in the suffocating air
Of the shelters of my soul
Hiding
From family members
Behind the shutters of the Hebrew.
And my Hebrew erupts
Running around between rooms
And the neighbors’ porches
Sounding her voice in public
Prophesizing the coming of God
And bulldozers
and then she settles in the living room
Thinking herself
Openly on the edge of her skin
Hidden between the pages of her flesh
one moment naked and the next dressed
She almost makes herself disappear
In the armchair
Asking for her heart’s forgiveness.
My Arabic is scared

quitely impersonates Hebrew
Whispering to friends
With every knock on her gates:
“Ahalan, ahalan, welcome”.
And in front of every passing policeman
And she pulls out her ID card
for every cop on the street
pointing out the protective clause:
“Ana min al-yahud, ana min al-yahud,
I’m a Jew, I’m a Jew”.
And my Hebrew is deaf
Sometimes so very deaf.

Not to be afraid to say the word nostalgia

Not to be afraid to say
The word nostalgia
Not to be afraid
To feel longing
Not to be afraid to say
I have a past
Placed in a box
Of locked-up memory
Not to be afraid
To buy myself some keys
To press my eyes to keyholes
Until it all opens
Until I can steal a glance
Into me
Not to be afraid to say
I’m a forgetful man
But I have a memory
That wouldn’t forget me.

Translated by Dimi Reider

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