I too drag around tin cans
so you can’t kiss me.
I too have been beat up by cabbies
thrown out of moving cars,
gotten into screaming matches with cancerous secretaries.
I too am covered in war paint
like indelible ink, quick to jump
to bait, to horse, to flower—
don’t look both ways
when entering the river. I too seal off
passages to my heart like a besieged country,
cut losses, cut brothers, don’t look back
when I am lost in the forest. I too fear
invisible drunken singers, I too fear
white horses. I too can’t
forgive can’t stained-glass out of here can’t tell you
words of love when you ask for water.
Yosefa Raz’s work has appeared in World Literature Today, Jacket2, ZYZZYVA, Try!, Tikkun, and Entropy Magazine. She is the author of the poetry book In Exchange for a Homeland (Swan Scythe Press, 2004), the chapbook All these years practicing while momentous changes were happening all around (Gavia Immer, 2015), and co-translator of Women’s Hebrew Poetry on American Shores (Wayne State University Press, 2015).
Feature image by John Chamberlain. Dolores James, 1962. Welded and painted steel. 72 1/2 x 101 1/2 x 46 1/4 inches. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. © 2015 John Chamberlain/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: David Heald © SRGF.
Click on the image to enlarge.