We could have lived so well, you say, and gaze at her, still pretty

Orit Gidali

Translated from the Hebrew by Marcela Sulak


In a little while Shabbat in the Sharon, and traffic lights take off their red, and the laces

unravel and yield the bare foot, and the records of the word gather into a book and rest

from their anxiousness to break, and the change in the wallet emphasizes the victory of the

many and the small, and the expiration dates on the milk do not threaten to be expired, and

the first fruits are relaxing in sealed bags, and the ice in the freezer assumes the shape of

the most self-confident mold, and the Styrofoam separates into small balls which do not

need the practical, and the air conditioners do not apologize for faking the heat, and the

screens do not apologize for faking brightness, and the poetry switches off the linoleum

floor and switches on the ceiling,

and the teenagers are softer and are not putting off their thank yous, and what is piling up

is piling up, and what is split is split, and the clouds ponder the field, and field ponders the

fish that float among the bushes in their imagination, and in the vineyards, grapes turn into

raisins, others into wine, and not all the sweet ones are contaminated with maggots of

worry, and he who asks for a deluge does not intend annihilation, but only a hard,

streaming rain, and the community leaders return from the road, gathering a family to

themselves, and generosity is being seen as a quiet virtue and not for display, and mistakes

are removed from the heart of things, and the body’s exchanges are just, and the public

domain is full of permissions, and the private domains are full,

and the fruits have set a tenth aside and do not miss the missing part, but are lighter,

sweetness is intensified, every branch that crossbreeds accedes to him with whom it was

crossbred, and the bulbs open themselves to the outside, and the bees imagine the honey,

and the trees get themselves a new king, according to the vigor of the blooming, and the

asphalt conquers the earth and liberates the best of her on the side of the road.

And Tamar and Amnon have moved into a pansy, where they are making cakes out of the

colors, and the dust is withdrawing before the pollination, and every drizzle is the chance

of a rainbow, and the green that is in the bushes almost overwhelms the leaves, and in the

old people’s lawn which surrounds you the water sprinklers of winter open, and, indeed,

there is suddenly a good southern wind,

only that she doesn’t answer when you ask, sparing you the nothingness, and her wrinkles

multiply at once as if the little girl inside her were shrinking her into herself, and your

words glide on the slope of her nose when you lean on your cane, looking at her, looking at

the blossoming, looking at the asphalt (we could have lived so well, you say) remembering

the earth.


Orit Gidali is an Israeli poet. “We could have lived so well you say and gaze at her still pretty” originally appeared in the collection  Smikhut [Closing In] (2009), She is also the author of Esrim Ne’arot LeKane [Twenty Girls to Envy Me] (Sifriat Poalim, Tel Aviv, 2003) and the children’s book Noona Koret Mahshavot (2007), published in English translation as “Nora the Mindreader” (2012). 

Marcela Sulak’s essays appear in such journals as The Iowa Review, Rattle, and The Los Angeles Review of Books. She is the author of the poetry collection, Immigrant (Black Lawrence Press), and a chapbook, and she’s translated three collections of poetry from Hapsburg Bohemia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. She is co-editor of the forthcoming Family Resemblance: An anthology and exploration of eight hybrid literary forms (Rose Metal Press), and directs the Shaindy Rudoff Graduate Program in Creative Writing, where she teaches American Literature.


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