If I forget you Jerusalem, may my right hand wither away. . .
If I do not remember you . . .
To write in Jerusalem
in a garden
with a wind that comes from the mountain
under a canopy of grapevines
sun everywhere outside
light and shade within
and the sounds
from the quarry and from the street—
within the promise
that everything continues
and the time—
is a gust occasionally changing direction,
it is the fact of the large white stone over there,
it is this garden wafting yellow roses,
it is the invitation of the wooden bench near the fence
its face and its back engraved with vows—
a clock-hand now.
Co-translated by the poet and Stephen Clingman
Yehudit Ben-Zvi Heller is the author of Ha’isha Beme’il Sagol (The Woman in the Purple Coat), Kan Gam Bakayitz Hageshem Yored (Here, Even in the Summer It Rains), and Mehalekhet al Khut shel Mayim (Pacing on a Thread of Water).
Stephen Clingman is Professor of English at the Universitiy of Massachusetts. His most recent book is The Grammar of Identity: Transnational Fiction and the Nature of the Boundary.