[End Page 110]
From HaNefesh He Africa (The Soul is Africa) Tel Aviv: Hakibbutz Hameuchad, 2005. Used with permission. [End Page 112]
Inside the house as though inside a tearmother sits on a chair, eyeless, facing the girl.Grandmother drops down to the floor,her mouth opening and closing like the mouth of a fish.
Outside they are digging trenches, in 1948.Those behind the house may be lost forever.The girl asks to go outside and play.Mother and grandmother nod in agreementnot thinking the girl might be swallowed by a hole.
The girl doesn't know who is crying hardest.In a moment grandmother will fallunder the darkness of a chair. [End Page 111]
Flowers, beautiful flowers! shouts the man with a wheelbarrow in the street.The shout cuts the crying short, the girl seeshow a tunnel gapes in the roomlike the parting of her ancestors' sea.
If you don't buy me a gladiola, I'll stand behind the locked doorand scream. The girl straightens up. What does she want, a sword?At that moment, she killed time. Grandmother and mother sitlike statues. [End Page 113]
Nurit Zarchi, whose ninth book of poems, Timegrass, was published in Israel in 2008, is also a prolific fiction and memoir writer, and the beloved author of scores of children's books. She regularly teaches creative writing at Hebrew University and other venues. Her work has appeared in English in Jubilat, Prairie Schooner and Fiction. Born in pre-state Jerusalem, she grew up there and on a kibbutz, where her widowed mother was a Bible teacher. The life of women and solidarity with children are constant themes in all her genres. She is the mother of two and grandmother of six.
Lisa Katz won the 2008 Mississippi Poetry Prize. Reconstruction, a volume of her poetry translated from English into Hebrew, as well as poems written in Hebrew, was published by the veteran Israeli press Am Oved in 2008. A secular American, in 1983 she moved from her native New York to Israel, where she now works as a translator. In addition to Mishol's Look There, she is the translator (with Shlomit Naor) of the forthcoming Approaching You in English (Zephyr Press), poetry with a focus on gender and religious practice by Admiel Kosman. She is the mother of two bilingual adults in their 20s.