It is a shaky start, but soon you are walking, one hand holding the rail, the other, the moments: your first double-digit birthday, the wooden kayak on the mirrored lake, glass shattering under a gleaming black shoe, babies gleaned and laid upon your chest. Test results that change everything, glass shattering on an asphalt road, the constricting fist around your heart when you can’t find your son, your father’s breath slowing and softening into silence.
In silence you walk on, the soles of your feet crosshatched, dodging landslides, skirting sinkholes, stumbling over moments disguised as tree roots, you walk the entire alphabet from angst to Zen and back to ambivalence, through ledgers of gains and losses, of suspicions and uncertainties, and then it is the end.
At the end is an ocean, and you strip off all your skins and dip and furl like a sheet of green silk flying from a mast, and your limbs fall away and your head and your heart and you become the current, and there is nothing to hold on to and no need to hold on. There is nowhere to fall but into the waves.
Shira Atik is an award-winning poet and a Hebrew-English literary translator. In 2018, she and sculptor Alice Kiderman co-published Stone Word, a book featuring nine of Shira’s poems alongside the sculptures that inspired them. Her poems have been published in Poetica Magazine and The Ekphrastic Review, and were displayed at the Beachwood Jewish Community Center and the Nature Center in Shaker Heights, both in Ohio. Her translations have been published by the Jewish Publication Society, the Institute for the Translation of Hebrew Literature, Zeek Magazine, Jewishfiction.net, and individual authors.
The Ekphrastic Review
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