what is it like when the resurrection comes
but there are no resurrected
when the Exodus is so close
but Egypt is everywhere
when there is so little oil
but countless endless days
when you strain to see the silhouettes
but your eyes are drowning in tears
when you were supposed to be back tomorrow
but today is already yesterday. and you’re still not here
and there is no place
where you weren’t
there is no time in which you weren’t
there is no thought you haven’t gotten stuck in
because there is nowhere left to poke with the awl
excuse us – clumsy tailors!
because we sewed with lead
and hammered with silver nails
your belly, our God
how do you carry all your children
together and close by?
we are unhurried people
work the war sluggishly
with flowers and fruits, see
in bursts, in bursts
with strained hearing
with heightened vision
gray long tunnels, dead ends
like an exhalation and time
without your image and likeness
exhalation and time
where is your light toward which they will march?
crepuscular as a holiday
cruel as borders
gentle as native ruins
come out to us!
come out into it!
the first light will illuminate your path
the second, your faces so dusty and pale
the third, us ashamed ones
the fourth light, confused hugs and crying
the fifth, unbearable memory
the sixth, those who were left behind
the seventh, hope and rage
the eighth and continuous light – will be you!
Alex Averbuch is a Ukrainian Jewish poet. His latest book is Zhydivsky Korol (The Jewish King), a 2023 finalist for the Shevchenko National Prize.