Her Moment of Escape: Featured Poetry by Shimon Adaf

November 5, 2019 | 1 book mentioned

Our series of poetry excerpts continues with a piece from Shimon Adaf‘s book-length elegy, Aviva-No. Exquisitely translated from Hebrew by Yael Segalovitz, the book is a song of grief and absence. In this section, Adaf captures the feeling of a life—a relationship—forever unfinished. How we try to grasp onto the “stretched glimmer” of the past, despite the past covered “with soot, / a little cloud.”

A stretched glimmer is the glass
on the window, bliss it was
deserted in that grove.

I took a stone—
a piece
she scorched for me
said I should look
through it at the sun.

It was a eucalyptus grove,
its scent awakened, waned.
Its flames idle, rustling,
green glint burst
from them, drowned

in a light hard with soot,
a little cloud. Thirty
years my back was turned to
her moment of escape

“A stretched glimmer is the glass” (poem) from Aviva-No by Shimon Adaf and translated from Hebrew by Yael Segalovitz, Alice James Books, 2019.

is a contributing editor for The Millions. He is the culture editor for Image Journal, and has written for Rolling Stone, GQ, The Paris Review, The Atlantic, Esquire, and The Kenyon Review. His newest book is Longing for an Absent God. Follow him at @nickripatrazone and find more of his writing at nickripatrazone.com.

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