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Rivkah the Whore, The Spring After

I don’t want your grush
neither silver nor gold
only heroin can buy my dreams

chasing my shadow in the dark
growing tan in my long white gown
growing thin, my hair bleached

the color of my skin, too thin
to smile even. When I began,
beauty was my profession. My face

bright, but delicate. Now by night
the mannequin, by day dress like a man,
cursing in Arabic, my french forgotten.

I run from old friends on the street
with their babies and husbands,
want none to see me, nowhere to go.

I run, not knowing where
the fear crept in
wherever I turn, hiding.

Once in a cafe a man sat down beside me.
I remember you, he said, when you were
a little girl, before you began to wear

all those beautiful clothes. I went with him.
Twice we made love, then he introduced me
to someone. Spent by all his friends

but he, never again. Now only myself
chasing headlights in the dark
holding tightly my purse.

In my closet still the wedding dress
with golden bells & pomegranates
I used to wear out at night.

In my mind still, a love song
but the french
I have forgotten.

Yael Mesinai is the Director of the West Side Jewish Community Council and a graduate student of philosophy at the Jewish Theological Seminary. As a poet and a writer, she has co-authored a book of Hasidic tales with Shlomo Carlebach and is working on a novel about the Yom Kippur War.