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Bridges: A Jewish Feminist Journal 11.2 (2006) 64-67

Retinal Tear
Dvora Amir
Translated by Rachel Tzvia Back

"All people are the same in their nakedness, as arehouses when they become heaps of rubble."*

One could feel there the atmosphere of just before something terrifying.
A heavy engine inserted a blast into the earth's surface.
Into my widened pupils a house collapsed,
crumbled, landed in the eye's depths.
A puzzle of frozen dryness, as on the bottom of a dying lake,
was etched into my eyes. "Retinal tear," you say,
and I know, there are some sights for which there is no repair;
an armless old man flapping his empty sleeves toward his face,
a girl looking for her notebook in the ruins.
And later, the curses of women who were torn from the walls of their house, [End Page 64]

[End Page 65]

drilled into my eye-socket, and you told me,
whoever scars a person's home—in the end his eyes will be scarred,
whoever uproots a person from his home—in the end his soul will be uprooted.

Beit Sahour [End Page 66]

Dvora Amir, born in Jerusalem in 1948, is a graduate of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where she studied literature, Jewish philosophy and Kabbalah. Amir also studied American literature at the University of Illinois. Amir is the author of Slow Burning (1994) and Documentary Poems (2003), and her poems have appeared in numerous journals and magazines. Amir is a 2006 recipient of the Prime Minister's Award for Hebrew Writers and the 1995 Kugel Award for Fine Literature.


* Written by Olga Friedberg, niece of Boris Pasternak, on the ruins of Leningrad under siege.



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pp. 64-67
Launched on MUSE
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Archived 2012
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