Red Kerchief, by Shira Atik
Oh, to be a peacock, my tail-feathers collectable,
adoration as certain as gravity or death.
Or a comet: brilliant, chased, my arrival
heralded across the world, telescopes purchased
just for me, my too-soon disappearance
leaving everyone a little empty.
To be seen, to not be left off the list,
to be named in a conversation,
to be present in my absence.
To be more than a crack in the sidewalk, evidence
of disrepair, seen only by those who keep their heads down,
remembered, if at all, as an inconvenience, a flaw,
a task to be tacked to the bottom of a list.
To be a woman who happens to be wearing a red kerchief
and not a red kerchief on a famous painter’s mock-up of a woman.
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 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.
1/23/2020 03:28:28 pm
Love the unexpected point of view that makes the voice of the poem Everywoman.
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