Above the Roofs of the Jewish Village

I and my imaginary lover hover
above the roofs of the Jewish village.
Above the courtyards, dairy barns, animal pens.
Above the awnings of the chicken coops.

Amid smells and clucking, cold air and wind
muss her imaginary hair, soft, colorful, flapping like cards.
My love is not Jewish, she’s an urban girl, from the city of Tel Aviv,
giggling a pleasant and liberating laugh.

I’m an inhibited village boy, and as I hover,
the stammering
and blushing poems have completely disappeared, my voice is eloquent.
We kiss. Quickly. In the middle. Of the air. Without stopping.

My hands, my tender beard, my ear locks, my hat and my two feet—it’s nice
to face her, up there, in the skies like so many countless lizards.

The heat of our bodies creates a white cloud, pale and streaming above
humpbacked mountains, sorry tin shacks and village squares.

And so we embrace, up there, in the center,
in the blue, in the middle of the blue sky,
right above the church, above the cross.

And everyone in the Jewish village stares, watches,
like ten eyes stabbing my back.

But we are into our thing, rising!
Disappearing into the clouds, high! So high!
In a heavenly kiss, close to God!

O painful arrow, my love!
My imaginary, non-Jewish love
cleaving the village in my heart like gunshot,

with a very daring, heavenly
kiss, and all the rest—

that is to say, all of life
that comes after, in the village, is
an allegory about an injury.
An injury I’ve dragged along with me for years—

like this lovely, artistic etching,
of a sacrificed child, face fallen,

or like
the slash of a plow, bleeding sorrow,
on top of the furrows of time—


(Translated by Lisa Katz with Shlomit Naim Naor. To return to the Fall 2012 Table of Contents, click here.)           

Admiel Kosman is the author of nine books of poetry and the bilingual Hebrew-English selection, Approaching You in English, as well as four books on midrash, two of which have appeared in English: Men’s World and Gender and Dialogue in the Rabbinic Prism. Kosman is professor of religious studies at Potsdam University, Germany, and academic director of the Geiger Rabbinical Seminary in Berlin.

Source Citation

Kosman, Admiel. 2012. Above the Roofs of the Jewish Village. Tikkun 27(4): 72.

tags: Poetry   
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