Tuvia Ruebner: “Sham A’marti/There, I Said”
There, I Said
I set out from my temporary home to show my kids the place I came from.
There, I said, there I lay on the ground,
with a stone for my pillow, lower than the grass,
like the dust of the earth;
everything is preserved there.
We passed through mountains, forests, and cities that were
caves, and water gathered into pools along the way and the roads were bad.
The car lurched from ditch to ditch.
What is this sweet air? my kids ask.
What is this plaster that falls from the walls?
Oh, it’s nothing–nothing at all, explained the old woman in the window,
here, even the future is past. And she shut her parched eyes
like a bird that ascends, tucks its wings, and dives.
I was born here, I said to my kids,
my parents and ancestors were born nearby.
All are born … There was a house here,
I said to my kids and the wind passed
between me and the words.
I set out to show my kids the place I came from. And when
will we eat? my kids ask, and where
will we sleep?
Translation by M. Salomon from the Hebrew