5 poems by Dorit Weisman

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A Bicycle Shop in the Eliezer Neighborhood / Dorit Weisman

I wash my hands in coarse soap paste          

Clusters of tires on every side and it’s crowded and gloomy and black

My father’s voice vanishes in the void, repelled like a wave

The air, from a valve, exits with a distant growl

I wash my hands in coarse soap paste

Clusters of tires on every side and it’s crowded and gloomy and black

I want to penetrate the black interior, to keep digging

The grains of thick soap make my skin crawl

The water leaks into a tin can with a hole

The air, from a valve, exits with a distant growl

I wash my hands in coarse soap paste.  

Translation from Hebrew to English: Joanna Chen

From the book Normal, Pardes Publishing house, 2015

After Two Catheterizations / Dorit Weisman

Shabbat morning, the street is silent

I stroke your back

Lingering over the valleys between your shoulder blades

We do not mince our words in the act of love

And we have our own ways

But now your heart is different.

It has five metal stents

Along two coronary arteries

The ivy leaves outside redden

I listen to your every breath

Anxious you do not exert yourself

I want you for many more years

Smooth and muscular and beneficent as you are now

As you always were

Following me through the desert for forty years.

Later, by the kitchen sink, naked

Together peeling potatoes for the oven—

The grandchildren will soon be here.

Translation from Hebrew to English: Joanna Chen

From the book Scrambled Eggs in Jerusalem, Cohel Publishing house, 2017

Dancing Csárdás With You / Dorit Weisman

I continued to hold your hand

pressed my cheek

against  your warm temples

and your cheeks

your face was growing yellow

your stomach still warm

I heard Tammy say to you:

I hope we’ll meet

again

I also hope

to dance Csárdás with you

in some wonderful place      

my mother

they put a sticker on your forehead

they put you in a pale-blue sack

a private ambulance

took you away to cool.  

Translated by Becka Mckay

From: Dancing Csardas With You
Publisher: Even Hoshen, Ra’anana, 2005
ISBN: 965-7270-27-8

The Austro-Hungarian Empire / Dorit Weisman

The only trace within me

of the Austro-Hungarian Empire

the family vineyards of Tokaj

the houses with the servants

is the upraised pinky

when drinking grapefruit juice in the morning.

My mother admired Sissy, she is

Elizabeth, or Erzsébet the Hungarian way,

the wife of Emperor Franz Yosef.

In her childhood, and adolescence, in Gödöllő,

she spent time in their summer palace,

as well as the King’s Park and Erzsébet Park.

Gödöllő was the lost Garden of Eden.

The same Gödöllő, the one he traversed by train

years before

the good soldier Švejk

on his way to the Great War.

Translation from Hebrew to English: Joanna Chen

From the book Scrambled Eggs in Jerusalem, Cohel Publishing house, 2017

Love

My aunt, not so young anymore,

with a hearing aid, a suitcase

and two flowery purses,                                  

set out on a voyage

from her house, about an hour from Boston

and to the airport                                      

and from there in an Air France plane over the Atlantic

as far as Paris –5905.86 kilometers.

In Paris she waited some hours

and afterward took another plane—also Air France—over the Mediterranean

to Ben Gurion Airport, 3280 kilometers,

where I waited for her one afternoon.

I came, she said,

for love.

Translation from Hebrew to English by Joanna Chen

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