Translated by Karen Alkalay-Gut






An Unsatisfactory Answer to The Question *




And that night I was a mechanical doll

and I turned right and left, to all sides

and I fell on my face and broke to bits,

and they tried to put me together with skillful hands

And then I went back to being a correct doll

and all my manners were studied and compliant.

But by then I was a different kind of doll

like a wounded twig hanging by a tendril.

And then I went to dance at a ball,

but they left me in the company of cats and dogs

even though all my steps were measured and patterned.

And I had golden hair and I had blue eyes

and I had a dress the color of the flowers in the garden

and I had a straw hat decorated with a cherry.





Take the knapsacks

and the utensils and washtubs

and the books of the Koran

and the army fatigues

and the tall tales and the torn soul

and whatever's left, bread or meat,

and kids running around like chickens in the village.

How many children do you have?

How many children did you have?

It's hard to keep tabs on kids in a situation like this.

Not like in the old country

in the shade of the mosque and the fig tree,

when the children the children would be shooed outside by day

and put to bed at night.

Put whatever isn't fragile into sacks,

clothes and blankets and bedding and diapers

and something for a souvenir

like a shiny artillery shell perhaps,

or some kind of useful tool,

and the babies with rheumy eyes

and the R.P.G. kids.

We want to see you in the water, sailing aimlessly

with no harbor and no shore.

You won't be accepted anywhere

You are banished human beings.

You are people who don't count

You are people who aren't needed

You are a pinch of lice

stinging and itching

to madness.




On the sewage puddles of Sabra and Shattila

there you transferred masses of human beings

worthy of respect

from the world of the living to the world of the dead.

Night after night.

First they shot

then they hung

and finally slaughtered with knives.

Terrified women rushed up

from over the dust hills:

"There they slaughter us

in Shatilla"

A narrow tail of the new moon hung

above the camps.

Our soldiers illuminated the place with flares

like daylight.

"Back to the camps, March!" the soldier commanded

the screaming women of Sabra and shatilla.

He had orders to follow,

And the children were already laid in the puddles of waste,

their mouths open,

at rest.

Noone will harm them.

A baby can't be killed twice.

And the tail of the moon filled out

until it turned into a loaf of whole gold.

Our dear sweet soldiers,

asked nothing for themselves -

how strong was their hunger

to return home in peace.



An Unsatisfactory Answer to The Question

What do you think of the murder of the Prime Minister?

Yes, what do you think of the murder

of the Prime Minister?

And what do you feel?

Are you in shock

or depressed?

A question was asked.

And do you stutter

or are you unsure of what will happen,

or do you speak with such bewilderment

because of the future or the present—

A question was asked.

And perhaps you feel stupid

or without a point of view?


And I reply:

All that you say is right

and you are a dear person.

And I want to add one more thing:

The Prime minister died a happy man.

Peace to the dust of the Prime Minister

Husband and father and something more:

the son of Red Rosa.






When the fire grabbed his body, it didn't happen by degrees.

There was no burst of heat before,

or giant wave of smothering smoke

and the feeling of a spare room one wants to escape to.

The fire held him at once

- there are no metaphors for this -

it peeled off his clothes

cleaved to his flesh.

The skin nerves were the first to be touched.

The hair was consumed.

God! They are burning! he shouted.

And that is all he could do in self-defense.

The flesh was already burning between the shack's boards

that fed the fire in the first stage.

There was already no consciousness in him.

The fire burning his flesh

numbed his sense of future

and the memories of his family.

and he had no more ties to his childhood

and he didn't ask for revenge, salvation,

or to see the dawn of the next day.

He just wanted to stop burning.

But his body supported the conflagration

and he was as if bound and fettered,

and of that too he did not think.

And he continued to burn by the power of his body

made of hair and wax and tendons.

And he burned a long time.

And from his throat inhuman voices issued

for many of his human functions had already ceased,

except for the pain the nerves transmit

in electric impulses

to the pain center in the brain.

and that didn't last longer than a day.

And it was good that his soul was freed that day

because he deserved to rest.