A stack of my father's old, worm-eaten books
were moved to the shelter after being treated for mildew,
all the perforated knowledge of industrious
scholars hidden from the human eye - research on disputes
between workers and their employers, conflicts
which today are called by other names, crouch like the
in a rigid carton, still stiff-backed,
as though deluding themselves that their future
yet lies before them, as though only terminologies change,
and consequently nothing becomes outdated,
and the authors - seem to wait soberly for the results,
the foreseeable struggle
and its aftermath in the suffocating space - eighteen
years after the death of the owner of the books.
Below, in order to save the "clean" books on the top floor.
No one touched the books for a year, but that year
a lantern warmed here Arab day-laborers,
and to its light they wrote down on
a chart drawn on the wall
Hebrew words in Arabic transcription (without grasping their
meaning?) Hebrew names written in Arabic,
as something marginal to their present lives,
a joke between meals eaten here before the curfew,
swallowing Hebrew on their lips without learning it, without
And they also refused to leave a trace of suffering-
not a wounded gazelle, not a slaughtered hare.
There are no adjectives.
They only stretch out their hands, unknowingly,
warming themselves by the lantern's flame.
Translated by Gabriel Levin