At night he comes to me,the boy from the scorched bus.He is torn from me again and againas his hands are torn from him, and his legs,and I'm his mother.A quick word mothermaybe it was cut off in his mouthwhen he was swallowed by fire.All night long I tryto take him back to his childhoodwhich knew how to take comfort in my kisseson every blow and bruise.Morning comesand the radio birdrises from a car to my windowto screech revenge and recompense:They shot or didn't shoot,a shell or maybe not,into the kitchen or onto a cot [End Page 67] third generation or maybe fourth,two kids (what were they doing there anyway)or just a pregnant woman,a deaf old man or a blind soldier—Now arise, get thee outfrom nightmare to nightmare.
Tal Nitzan was born in Jaffa and lives in Tel Aviv. She is a poet, an editor and one of the preeminent translators from Spanish in Israel today. Recipient of the Culture Minister's Prize for Beginning Poets in 2001, Nitzan has published three poetry books: Domestica (2002, recipient of the Culture Minister's Prize for First Book), An Ordinary Evening (2006), and Café Soleil Bleu (2007). An ardent peace activist, Nitzan edited the ground-breaking anthology With an Iron Pen: Hebrew Protest Poetry 1984-2004, published in 2005.
The phrase "arise, get thee out" is taken from the third stanza of the Friday night prayer Lecha Dodi. In this verse, the Sabbath queen is enjoined to rise up out of des struction and to leave the Valley of Tears.
Originally published in Hebrew, translation by Tal Nitzan, with Vivian Eden [End Page 68]