Yael Globerman






The Lover



AH.. 4


The Boulevard.. 6





LOVER.. 11


Ann At Thirty. 14

Witches (A Lullaby) 15

Eulogy: The Death of Passion.. 16






What lured her was the voice, high and piercing,

The voice pitched for only dogs and men to hear,

From eardrums to the loins and then

Sprayed! Up to the dazzled brain. 

What lured her was that voice, legless,

That swelled on the water promising a dark sweetness

Like crawling through the tunnel opening to a sugar igloo.

What lured her was the longing that she was born

And probably would die with, the possibility

To take off to the deep, the chance

That a voice that high would take you that low.

For years men have been sending her

their salty presents, pure protein,

Their well constructed love, erected on citadels,

While she stood there as if in a circle, un

touched, sending out good intentions,

Sending out strong passions

That just came back to her

Like the sound waves returning to a bat

Who has learned to see.

What lured her was that sealed legged voice,

A shuttering, sexless temptation

From which there’s no return, its sex

The entire sea. What lured her was the chance

to suckle from that breast again at the age of thirty seven.

What lured her was her mother’s voice.


Translated by Karen Alkalay-Gut





She goes home again to close

the door behind her body.

Night that broke in

bursts from the room

aiming a shiny silence at her.

She know the black hose

it wears on its face. Those                                        

she picked up from the carpet

in the hotel room.  They’re hers.

She stands in the doorway.  The floor

sprawls before her.


Translated by Karen Alkalay-Gut




This is the way

the fruit feels when it devours the tongue

when it sucks the knife’s metal

folding its flesh

around the hunger of teeth


Stung with desire

it fills with violent helplessness

exploding throughout

the moment’s mouth


Translated by Karen Alkalay-Gut




Her condensed body, full to bursting,             

Was created by the shorthand of God:


All the details are there, complete.

But the grace of more than enough,

The wide generous strokes creating beauty

For beauty’s sake, the expanses                      

With no real practical purpose, except that they transform

A place to a landscape, are lacking.


She sits, feeding herself conscientously,

With a kind of patience: a hand

Raises a fork carrying lettuce to the mouth

And lingers. The little hand and the large face:

Little girl feeding her mother.                                                 


A child stares at her transfixed. For him                                

Even upright on two legs

She’s a tortoise thrown onto her back.


His parents turn his eyes from her. Avert 

Their bodies, their eyes. She has no hiding place.                                              

She is a parade of one woman.


Translated by Karen Alkalay-Gut



The Boulevard 


On King David Boulevard, old partisans

Are glued to the benches like bent candles,                                              

Fading away in the arms of Philippino girls,                                       

Telling them in Polish things

That they never told the kids. 


In ten years the cable train will pass through here.                            

Iron rails will rest along the length of the avenue

Like a row of walkers fallen to the new grass.

I walk that broken line                                                                  

Krakow-Tel Aviv-Manila,


Two blocks from here, my father

Is silent amid pictures of my mother,

His silence thickens like the glass of bottle

Corked by time. If it breaks, he breaks.


Something stronger than longing grabs me,

Conducts my feet to the wooden bench

As if toward a ferry:

An old man speaking, a beautiful woman living.

I come and sit between them like a child.


He speaks.  She looks at me.

I can hear his story. I can smell her hair.

Three strangers sit on a bench

As if in a station. The boulevard rushes past us

Leaving, as we do, without moving.


Distances I once thought I would cross

Are now absolute. I have no chance to touch.



Translated by Karen Alkalay-Gut



                                                          “Fire, Brothers, Fire”

                                                          H.N. Bialik, “The Village is Burning


The girl thrown down on her back right now          

Doesn’t care what you call the thing that is happening to her:

Horror, holocaust, the end of the world or rape

Any more than she cares

What the name is of the soldier

Who is finishing her off like a leg of lamb.


The mud her shoulders are being buried in with rhythmic thrusts

Was once called land, was once called homeland.

The blank indifference stretched above her open eyes                       

Was once called sky, and rumor had it

There was a god up there.


Those who sit on the barbed wire fence of another horror

Reviewing names that might fit this thing

That is going on right now,

Stand right there in the circle of laughing soldiers,

Cataloging horrors. 


Fire, strangers, fire. The girl is burning.

Even if she does get up, like my mother                                    

She‘ll still be lying down for years. 

In her well-lit kitchen she will hold out to her son

Arms covered with the scars

Of frying pans and suicide.


Translated by Karen Alkalay-Gut





He is the large intestine, exposed to the sun,

Of some fragmented deity whose body was mutilated,

A section of the digestive system of a primeval god

With massive appetites and burning loins

Who was the prologue to the favorite son,                

The one who resembled him most, who rose to murder him:


A severed organ, that retained an amazing vitality

For its age; But with time,

The absolute distance from the heart

Discarded on some Olympic drain, some Vesuvius Extinctus

Takes its toll: The chill damages him.


He is still capable, full of potential,                    

But the cold seeps through his veins

More and more slowly,

Gradually freezing the small, mean, desperate brain

That he cunningly fashioned from a chronic ulcer.            



Translated by Karen Alkalay-Gut






Now you know:

The body is one thing and love is another.

Behind, a man dies sitting upright

Enclosed in metal scaffolding.

You go out to the lighted street.


Insane, this innocence          

Of life inside the body, counting on skin,

Stubbornly clinging to limbs            

That just keep breaking down,           

Rotting the way they will in the grave

Only more slowly


My love, the soul

Slows the process

No more

Than a refrigerator


Translated by Karen Alkalay-Gut








                                                        To Anne Sexton, among others

In this crazy house, the children

Play on the carpet with honed pencils,

Lick sweet dynamite sticks,

Wait at the locked door behind which

She is cooking a poem


A dog called Machine

Chews on the collar bone of her missing husband,

Watches all entrances at once,

Stares hungrily at the rib she saved

To work on later, to make out of it

A help mate


Why doesn’t she ever get to where she wants to go.

She walks to the window for comfort:

Look up at the sky, even God

Made rough drafts, this cloud, for instance

Is definitely unfinished


Two thousand twenty books on the shelves,

Six are hers. The walls are swollen with paper,

Any hunger could huff and puff

And blow them away


On the night table,

By her bed.

A goddess figurine kneels

At the foot of the telephone shrine


Come, sit by her on the gorgeous sofa.

She will leaf with you

Through her family album,

Full of frescoes.


Translated by Karen Alkalay-Gut





You come at night

Making the long passage up my legs                                

Climbing as if upon an earlier woman,                         

The one that came before the very first wife;                 

Had she stayed with you, you swear,

You’d still be deep in paradise.


I am not bone of your bone, am formed

From the snake, the apple,

Not your simple rib, gently calcified by time,

Leaning against the wall of home,

anchored in the armchair.


My thighs are scissors shredding

Another woman’s life and with the same stroke

Cutting me off from the quiet in the room. 

I choose to harm her.  Every lover is Lilith.


Then I’m alone again. My son’s faint weeping

Passes softly in a dream

Like a rickshaw filled with milk.

I wake to total silence.

Who is that woman, lying in her clothes

Very close to the wall

In the street of a double bed.


In every triangle there is one rib

Jutting out, cutting the lungs

While the other two pant.

Excuses fall from the naked body.


Translated by Karen Alkalay-Gut





Now, in this light, I can see:

Two enormous parents inflating on the couch.

The crown is cast into a corner, nothing more than a toy.

Is it truth or a poem?

How memory extends beyond itself,

Like the tree passes its own fingertips through leaves.                             

Like the mouth that says

Maybe this way I can get there.


Translated by Karen Alkalay-Gut





The room is a large lampshade, softly lit

And at its heart you shine, the 1000 watt lightbulb of my childhood

Your glass skin, heating to the touch of my eyes                                                                                                       

Is a bell, and inside it my pen once again moves wildly                            

Like the bell's tongue, like the tongue of an ancient mourner,              

Like a firefly larva inside a pear


                                                                                                   Translated by Jack Adalist                                        

III. To The Mother


You were never Demeter, lost girl                                                                                       

The darkness that abducted you, at thirteen                                           

You emerged from only in part

And even though I saw you awash in light,

Bathed in love,                                                                                         

You were never Demeter


I am Persephone daughter of Persephone, child born of child,                 

Standing as you stood then, on the other side

Of a door fusing shut like a hole in the ground

Crying out, just as you did,

Who have you taken, Hades?                          

Here I am, fresh and young               


This is the way we sing, mother                                                        

This is the way we love


Above and below

Two seasons under the sun

And two seasons in hell


                                                                                                  Translated by Jack Adalist

VI. To a Lover


Yes, he survived, but she was a wreck.                                                                            

Her embrace enfolded us both like fish in an inside-out net                                    

Leaving the world shining outside, alternately flashing promises

And threats, like seasons changing.


Her lips had the taste of sleeping pills:                                  

Bitter and sweet. It took me years to decipher that taste.

I found it once again, for a moment snatched,             

In your arms: three pomegranate seeds carefully counted.


Don’t give up on me if I hug you with a hand across my lips,

Don’t look at me like that

When I tear at the things that move us

Flailing against them as if against a trawler’s net.

For me, my love,

To be enwrapped is to be kidnapped.  


                                                                                                   Translated by Jack Adalist







Yael Globerman

Ann At Thirty


You are surrounded by clever women                                        

Who hold the doll to their ear                                                

And nurse a baby. They too write poems,                                             

But with one hand. You, on the other hand:       

A door in darkness. Behind it                                            

Darkness. Inside                                                                 

You sit in a paper armchair.                                

A moat of black water surrounds the house              

Chiseled in hard silence.

A narrow hallway leads to the room where sleeping is done.

The bed is a stump, trunk of severed tree.

On the refrigerator - a note:  Call Ana.                    

Need to buy apples.                                                      

Do not show the gallows to the guests.

Something weighs heavy on the stone table.             

Something untangles the fingers, unties them from the hand.      

You pass through the rooms, checking escape routes              

Like a fireman: grapes in the fridge,                                     

Push buttons on the telephone,

The dog’s pupils,    

Little scaffolds in the medicine cabinet.

Electricity flows through walls. Blood flows through wrists.

You get up. With a fluttering hand you erect in the air          

A spider-web shelf, for holding                                   

The books you will write.   



                                                        Translated by Jack Adalist



Witches (A Lullaby)


A hungry woman is a frightening thing.                            

She feeds no one, she is looking for something to eat.

She seems to be hunting. Every morsel that she isn’t sharing           

Looks enormous, bloody. It is her hunger, peering like Cyclop`s eye

Smack in the center of her breast. Watch her drag home

A live lobster, coins, a daffodil bulb, a map of Europe,

The apple, to pierce with a knife.



An empty handed woman is a threatening thing.

If there is no hand in her hand

Wind gushes out of her as if from a ravine

A strange, hot weather menace, the bad breath of a dragon.                                                               

She is a house in the desert with its doors ripped off the hinges,            

Sand drifts freely through the rooms, piles up on the kitchen counter,

On the floors, turns the bed into a dune.



A woman alone scatters throughout her house empty cups

And cigarette butts, imprinted with lipstick marks.

There will always be those who will see                          

In the red arc etched with the seal of her lips

Duplicated ten times over, evidence                  

Of secret neglect, the exposed edges of a great need.                                                                                                            

Beware little girls, sitting among dolls

As if among open beaks, handing out the tea: 

Don’t become like her. 


                                                    Translated by Jack Adalist




Eulogy: The Death of Passion


The body, so quickly

Lost its memory.

If not now

Then not at all.

Your hands passed over my body, molding it                            

To the shape of passion. Now                  

It is damp fog, darkness              

In a cellar.

Memory fills with a face                               

Like a hollow in the sand                 

Very close to the water.                   

There, the sea.

Here, a hole dug with ten fingers.

This body is an echo in a place where then

Our voices roared.  

Let me go back to the deep room              

Where we found shelter once.



                                     Translated by Jack Adalist









God's amazing success

When He made the Word into flesh!


And then this thing that you pursue:                        

To break that flesh                                                        

And all things past

Into flashes, short lines                                                 


To go back and bring forth                   

The word


Like a boy who dismantles the piano                       

So he can have a wooden stick                    

To bang on the fence with                                                     

And sing


               Translated by Vivian Eden