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  • The Oldest Story
  • Lyn Graham Barzilai (bio)

He looks across the table at the woman he has been inhabiting for several months now. Her husband is abroad, working to bring the money in, but he’ll be coming back soon.

The man remembers clearly that day when, leaning on his garden fence, he watched her move across her bright green grass, hang the freshly-washed sheets and pick peas from a row along the wall— and sit afterwards in a patch of sun, bowl in her lap, shelling them. He wanted that. He wanted that ripeness, that yielding up, that provision. [End Page 91]

Once, when they were both young, so young he can’t remember how it was exactly, she had said she would always be his and he would always be hers. No matter what. Perhaps he was thinking of this when he jumped the fence one evening, the sun down and the shadows coming out, and he too impatient to go round by the gate.

Since then he has been with her most nights, allowing her to cook them both an intimate meal, or wash his shirts from time to time. Even now he desires her fiercely, irrationally, like David for Bath-sheba, some nights knocking her over onto the bed in his eagerness.

But now everyone knows, almost everyone has seen him at some time coming in or out of her house. Some turn their eyes when he meets them on the street, some glare or mutter. Others, he knows, are talking behind his back.

It’s time to move out before it all blows up in his face. After all, she has never really belonged to him. [End Page 92]

Lyn Graham Barzilai

Lyn Graham Barzilai “I am a Scot living in Israel since 1975, married with children. I received my Ph.D from Haifa University, where I teach English literature, as well as creative writing at college. My poetry appears online in Boxcar Poetry Review and Entertext, and in the poetry anthology Runes. I have published a book on the Jewish-American poet George Oppen, and an article on Rita Dove (also in Entertext). I strongly believe in the power of poetry to further social and political awareness.”



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pp. 91-92
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Archive Status
Archived 2012
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