a god

Once there was a god who opened his mouth,
parted his forehead and widened his lips
the whole world opened. The upper lip was the horizon,
and the waterline, walking distance.
Between presence and absence,
he held the void and eternity
in his hands, pulled them open;
his mouth aimed at space, he stretched his lips
asked and answered
was present and left

A misleading breeze
shifts between the noble voice
and the playful echo
sit down you odd girl – breathe, write,
tell yourself the truth
that is not, and what you want.
Truth is a voice that
asks and answers, lightens and darkens
and the whole world continues
on its own without you

Absence is a rope, the question is a mark,
curiosity is a connection birthing a woman
tying her soul
to the question’s body
Who are you?

With its own strings it strums and sleeps
the question’s body,
an odd woman and
a man
of her own.

היה אֵל

הָיֹה הָיָה אֵל שֶׁפָּתַח אֶת פִּיו
הִפְרִיד מֵצַח וּשְׁתֵּי שְׂפָתַיִם הִרְחִיב
עוֹלָם שָׁלֵם נִפְעַר, קַו הָאֹפֶק שָׁפָה עֶלְיוֹנָה
וְקַו הַמַּיִם פָּרָשַׁת הֲלִיכָה
בֵּין נוֹכֵחַ לְנֶעֱדָר
תְּהוֹם לְנֶצַח
בְּמוֹ יָדָיו הֶחְזִיק מָשַׁךְ וּפָעַר
פֶּה לַמֶּרְחָב, מָתַח אֶת שְׂפָתָיו
שָׁאַל וְהֵשִׁיב
נָכַח וְעָזַב

מַשַּׁב רוּחַ מְתַעְתֵּעַ
עוֹבֵר וָשָׁב בֵּין הַקּוֹל הָאָצִיל
לַהֵד הַשּׁוֹבָב
חוֹזֵר וְאוֹמֵר
שְׁבִי לָךְ יַלְדָּה מוּזָרָה תִּנְשְׁמִי תִּכְתְּבִי
אִמְרִי לְעַצְמֵךְ אֶת הָאֱמֶת
שֶׁאֵינָהּ וְאֶת שֶׁתִּרְצִי
הָאֱמֶת הִנָּה קוֹל
שׁוֹאֵל וּמֵשִׁיב, מֵאִיר וּמַחְשִׁיךְ
וְכָל שְׁאָר הָעוֹלָם בְּשֶׁלּוֹ
מִלְּבַדֵּךְ מַמְשִׁיךְ

הַהֶעְדֵּר חֶבֶל, הַשְּׁאֵלָה סִימָן
הַתְּהִיָּה קֶשֶׁר מוֹלִיד אִשָּׁה
קוֹשֵׁר נִשְׁמָתָהּ
לְגוּף הַשְּׁאֵלָה
מִי אַתָּה

בְּמוֹ מֵיתָרָיו מְנַגֵּן וְנוֹדֵם
גּוּף הַשְּׁאֵלָה
אִשָּׁה מוּזָרָה

Nidaa Khoury is a poet, translator, critic, and literary scholar, born in Fassouta in Israel’s Upper Galilee. She is an associate professor at Ben-Gurion University and has published many poetry books in Arabic, such as Kitab al-Khataya (The Book of Sins) (2011), many of which have been translated into various languages.

Lily Shehady is a Nazarene poet, translator, and educator. She is completing her MA in English literature and creative writing at Bar-Ilan University. She’s taught English at a Waldorf elementary school for the past seven years.
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