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  • From “Noon, Fire, and No Shade”
  • Sharron Hass (bio)
    Translated by Tsipi Keller (bio)

a sequence of forty-four parts


    A poet resides in a tree, in the pattern of leaves awashin light. He extends to me a blooming, branch-like arm, almond or plum,a delicate gift, and with one motion transports me from one bankto the other. This truly happened. It always does:I clearly saw what can be seen only fleetingly, just as Blake sawan angel emerge from a wingless insect. There’s no proof.Only disappointment and bitter pride—I’ve been chosen,but I lost the scepter in the mud, and the crown is a rumorI try to place on my head, each morning anew, careful not to stop    before the ever-alert mirror


    Behind the pages a lizard climbs up the slope,breaking through the unknown, the beating beating of a dark heartin a small transparent body, the tiny creature never tires,the woman nearly buckles under the burden of light.She has eyes, she has seen many things between dream and dream,in the newspaper a skiff laden with black refugees has sunk.She has eyes and heart and she is sister to the lizard, and if she is sisterto one in a peaceful family of reptiles    what does it mean to see and to remain chained to sight


    The girl and I ask the poet, Is today tomorrowor yesterday? [End Page 59]


    Even just for the laundry I require immortality:the only question I ask    “Am I among the condemned or the saved”


    I am young again, death—the angel—signals from an open planewhere open secrets are not the opposite of secrets.Moss wind and clouds—a hard object secreted in softness,what is more mysterious: heavenly bodies or dark matter?The one who fell at the feet of strangers or the one waving hello?Now I turn my face to the open poem that does not quite knowwhere to stop, very much like us who want to journey together in the light


    Three nights holding onto the tuna fishing netssixteen refugees are about to drownthe near future is made of fractures: (a verb and another verb)


    The woman was slenderbecause every morning she made use of wordsthat kept her tall and buttoned up in stiff woolencoats. The words! I perceived the sparkling potential,the beautiful author with a transparent crown,distinct like blackened daffodils are from dainty diamonds.I held the newspaper with the envy the neglected feels facingwhat could have been his—(only the speed in dust and lightprevents the fall into something that is so empty it seems blue).I know what my attributes could have beenI know how much I enjoy my indolence.I am one of those of whom Dante says they will not be granted glorybecause they love to linger for many hours on downy beds    surely there exists a land where we are the stars of song and praise


    I heard them at dawn, my ashen face is whitelaid out on the pillow, tiny artisans clasp a phrase or twoof the original score, welcome with gray feathersthe rising sun—such a strange solitudeto hear the one who is infested with lice, asleep among the leaves, [End Page 60] bathing in sand and stronger than me because he’s completelysealed against excess and margins.Artisan—how will I balance my weight with yours—I, awake at dawnwith the chill branching out in me, the phrase of your monotone    like a diving bell in the sea of numbness


    At the time, I would tirelessly return to the same house, nightafter night thirty hushed stairs and a door that opened petal-corolla-petalinto three rooms. It was an ordinary house, its roots in the skyamong gods who know not whether they are hungry or satiated.Covered in whispers and leaves, our body in every room encouraged the soulto roam without regret...


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pp. 59-62
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