Friday Poem

Origin of the World

I hereby close the gates between my legs till further notice
For an unlimited period, due to maintenance.
No bearers of first fruit will come
No pilgrims will make pilgrimage
No prayers made under the empty skies,
Not a single butchered sheep is to be offered as a sacrifice
Upon my tortured holy altar.
The origin of the world was found to be rotten.
All men are corrupt.
All sexual activity – an abomination.
I raise a dam, lay an embargo, impose a curfew, economic ban –
No goods or wares can be transported,
Or imported, or exported,
All vessels are requested to remain in port and blow
Their steam on neutral.
I build a wooden ark to save only myself
And flee this wretched ruin,
Tout seul.
I bring down a heavy rain, a flood, a cloudburst without break,
And may all men flutter, be washed out like seashells in a rake.
All men are similar to starfish, putrid, withered, pale – the works,
All men are green glass bottles sealed with perforated corks
Carrying worn, forlorn and fraudulent love letters, safe and sound.
All men are carried by the waves,
Forever lost and drowned.
And I promise –
That no rebellious raven will flutter within my drunken depths,
Nor be set free prematurely from my abyss
To see if the waters have abated.
As for the dove, you rest assured I keep it close to my heart.
The flood already happened!
Tear all existing things apart!
‘The origin of the world’ will remain frozen and static, a dead metaphor,
Still life under my short mini skirt
Like in the painting by Courbet.
For I, dear sirs, am luckily
A female poet.
And now I will create a whole new world
All different than you know it.

by Naomi Partom
from: Leh-havir et hamayim bah-esh/Setting the Water on Fire
publisher: Xargol/Am Oved, Tel Aviv, 2012,
translation: Yotam Benshalom