R. Shimon Contemplates Bird Hunting
…they saw a man hunting birds—
they heard a voice from the heavens call “Dimos dimos.”
and the bird would escape;
They heard another voice call “Spikula,”
and the bird was captured…
[R.Shimon] said, “If a bird cannot be trapped without Heaven’s decree,
how much more so the soul of a man.”
—Genesis Rabba, 79
As they ascend, they seem like stars
oblivious to the earth’s draw.
A sliver of wood, sticky
with the blood of the saucerberry
whose gray leaves smother
the plain above the Dead Sea
and they flutter like leaves
trying to flee the tree
only to batter to the ground.
A tilting mist-net glints silver
in dawn’s slow dirge. Barely there
yet now they are tangled
like flies in a web, who
leave their iridescent wings
dangling like dew drops
above eyelash legs.
Or a net shoots forth to scoop them
air turned water
they flail like fish
A captured bird,
eyelids sewn shut
can be used to lure others
with its desperate cries—
so cruelly are stars turned to snares.
Batnadiv HaKarmi is a writer and visual artist who currently resides in Jerusalem. Her work has been published in Poet Lore, Arc Poetry, and Radar Poetry, and her chapbook is upcoming from Kelsay Books.