Poetry - Issue 15 | June 2012

Two Excerpts by Anne Germanacos


Jerusalem, Out the Window - I

He comes up the wide marble stairway and says: the place is teeming with Shin Bet.

They are a pair.
(Sometimes she needs to take a juicy bite.)

*

(Jerusalem air)

*

I’m British Mandate-ish, she announces.

*

(Not good with a map.)

*

Being driven by an Arab, of course, on Shabbat.
Will they get stoned?

*

Birds come in and peck their chocolates, mess up their nuts.

How to gather the fruit?

*

She tries to sit up straight. Her bones—a skewed frame.

*

Some Al Aqsa call-to-prayer, now.

*

Slept.
He released her?

*

With a sacrifice, you slaughter, whereas a burnt offering becomes smoke?

*

(pagan)

*

One of them was taken away—security.

*

But shouldn’t a state be a parent, rather than a bratty or brilliant child?

*

Osama bin Laden—dead.

The skin on her nose—dry.

*

The journalist said: What are the implications?

*

She notices that her cousin’s hair is falling out and thinks she may be on the edge of getting it—finally—unless she’s playing a fool’s game.

*

Jerusalem plate: tahini, hummus, olives, chopped salad, eggplant, white cheese. Pita.

*

Bin Laden’s picture on the front page of the Herald Tribune.

At the cocktail party, her friend said: Yes, and a hundred new terrorists were born yesterday.

*

She pulled her off to the side and asked, May I show you something? Then opened her coat to reveal the colorful lining.

*

In the little square near the Iraqi market in the souk, the pensioners sit outside the coffee houses playing shesh besh; the card players sit inside.

All male, of course.

*

Guides tell you where to look, attempting to make you see.
Like a fly in her face, she kept swatting him away.

*

That rabbi may have pushed her a little closer to understanding how a terrorist is made.

Excised from the theory of Zionism.

Like a fly, he swatted her away.

*

Vanilla ice cream with tahini, honey, and pine nuts.

*

(She doesn’t believe in any divinity but the spark of it that may flash out: light through a splinter of glass.)

*

Will she wear her sandals to the Knesset?
Or put on black shoes?

*

She gets up to go to the bathroom and when she comes back, there’s a cashew at the bottom of her tea.
The birds around here work rapidly.

*

Osama bin Laden is dead.
Her Judaism flew out the window.
The pineapple is beginning to rot.

*

Embrace what’s exiled in us? Admit to the diaspora of any human heart?

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About the author

Anne Germanacos and her husband divide their time between San Francisco and Crete. Her work has appeared in over seventy literary journals and anthologies. Read her collection of short stories, In the Time of the Girls,  published by BOA Editions in 2010. Or visit her here.

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