Three Poems

Agi Mishol

The Sermon at Latrun

You piss on my love as if
it were a bonfire, extinguishing it
ember by ember with the arrogance
of the perfect crime, and afterwards
you cry at night in front of an empty robe,
a shirt on a barbed wire hanger—
What were you thinking?

So your carriages turned into pumpkins,
your horses to mice,
and rags began peeping through.
Both of you, covered in fig leaves,
biting into the apple of knowledge,
knowing how to enter and exit the norm—
Were you not afraid?
Did you never hear that God
has no God?

You will be wanderers in the cash flow
of life, dogs without collars.
You will never relax into form,
never again hear the heart go boom—

A pig's head resting on a tray,
a green apple stuffed in its mouth—
With this you remain—
So sayeth the Lord.

Night Lamp

It takes time for the body
to grasp what the mind has decided
so the body strokes itself
with an outline of consolation:
here the shoulder, here
the face, here the inner thighs—

This is the bottomless sigh
devoid of a consonant
to lean against.


All the sorrel stalks I sucked on
revealed nothing.

Words piled up behind my back
until they turned into a green hill.
Phloem coursed through the trunks;
lupine seeds plotted blue in the dark soil.

Even if there is no singular form for grass
and only the plural makes it green,
I could not have known.

Birnam Wood began to move,
afterwards thought darkened
with everything that lay behind the trees.


translated from the Hebrew by Joanna Chen