- Wounded Tree
A face disaffected, decades old, painted on a green banner. Watering his olive tree in a corner of a field disjoined from its orchard by a fence, he can still hear the menacing noise of guns. Weeks, months, and he will not come back, the tree begins to dry up. Like a dry bone it shrivels. He aches for the tree. He puts his ear to the silent desert. Perhaps the void will help. The hum of worry will vanish. Perhaps waiting is the trick. He dreams of the prophet flying above while someone strews the patch of land around his tree with pellets of poison, and he remembers his father’s stories about locusts invading the city, mortally wounding the trees, and he dreams—he dreams of a thousand olive trees, his orchard blessed with rainfall, and the noise of guns quieting down, a tranquil banner waving in the breeze. He is sitting under his tree savoring the dream before the rumble of guns erupts. [End Page 81]
Rachel Berghash was born in Israel, and now lives in New York City. From 1983 to 1987 she produced “A World Elsewhere,” a poetry program broadcast over WBAI. Her interviews with poets have appeared in The American Poetry Review and The Partisan Review. Excerpts from her memoir Without a River or Sea, My Life In and Out of Jerusalem appeared in Crab Orchard Review. Her poems have been published in many magazines including Chicago Review, Israel Horizons, Jewish Frontier, The Comstock Review and Blue Unicorn.