arc 27: Time
Account no. 7118858
Bank Discount, Branch 118 (Neve Avivim)
(Account name: אגודת הסופרים כותבי אנגלית
Following are three extracts from the issue.
He didn’t understand why objects dropped
fell upwards in this world, nor why their talk,
incomprehensible, was yet familiar,
nor why whenever he opened up his own
mouth, the words he had regretted saying
flew in and were abruptly swallowed down.
Some consciousness must have remained in him
from another world where things went otherwise,
for no one else appeared disturbed by how
they kept remembering all they had forgotten
even while forgetting all that they had learned
till clean of thought they were sucked back into
the womb that folded on its shrinking fruit.
He learned to understand their retro speech,
and gradually it was borne in on him
that this whole world was rushing back from some
outcome that had to be undone, undestined,
back into Adam, into Being’s core,
to where they could unmake that first mistake.
In the Latter Years
In the latter years when it’s all almost over
I think about then
when I was in The Red Shoes
and search for the pictures of that show
in dusty albums
my husband gets down boxes, grumbling
‘what, for a few minutes on Facebook’ he says
but no, I want to see the someone that once was
now that I could live that life so much better
As a boy,
sitting for a portrait in a Paris street,
I knew it was wrong.
Even then I knew
portraits were for counts and dukes,
the artist’s wives and children,
I wanted to say this
to the man in the tilted brown beret
and paint-splashed smock and hands.
To say I’m just a boy
whose mother has five dollars
she wished to spend this way.
To hold me here at eight or nine
before I am old enough to leave her.
Make him beautiful,
I heard her say.
Not as you, but as I see him,
His brown eyes, brown hair
the perfect shade of brown,
though not the same.
Make him younger than you see him,
his eyes so round, his small smooth hands
so white they can do no harm.
Restless, I was unable to hold still,
however pitiably she pleaded,
offered tearfully to hold me.
The painted spots and dashes
on the artist’s smock and hands
could not have come
in the carelessness or fever of his work.
He worked with caution, slowly,
as though, lost along the boulevards,
time had never found this street.
I have never been to Paris.
My mother died years later
when I was away.