The Woman with Israel in her Head

The woman in her bed
with street corners
with the smell of Za’atar
on sesame Arab bread
the woman in the salt
the sea weed air permeating
her hair
her feet in the hot sand
shifting so fast
she wakes up her lover
she is in bed
with the juice from a Cyprus tree
between her fingers
the green bitterness on her tongue
she is on a sidewalk
in the market place
buying dried apricots and dates
her legs draw love from the sidewalk
and she doesn’t even care
that on the way home is lined
with ugly concrete buildings
she doesn’t remember only the beautiful things,
same as smiling at the klutzy and stupid things
a cherished lover did.
She is in bed with a country
with vast graveyards,
sun burned fields,
old women in bus stations,
Russian scientists driving taxis,
the Hebrew language spoken on the street.
a theatre floor covered with shells of sunflower seeds,
her mother’s red. hot. Lybian fish.
so hot she chokes on her tears
so her lover wraps his arms around her
as far as he can wrap around a woman
and her country
in bed.

Netta Blatt is an Israeli poet who has lived in New York for 18 years. She is now moving back to Israel.