Arts & Culture

Poem: Lost

Fenno tells me how he got lost in his own village on a visit back to Kenya. When he was a boy, they always avoided the tangled trees where the ancestors worshipped. He has been in Berkeley for twenty three … Read More

By / July 31, 2009

Fenno tells me how he got lost in his own village

on a visit back to Kenya.

When he was a boy,

they always avoided the tangled trees

where the ancestors worshipped.

He has been in Berkeley for twenty three years,

his accent eggplant-purple in the creases

where skin meets skin, elbows, the folds of the ears,

hollows of the nose.

 

He didn’t want to ask directions.

They would tell him,

Are you so American that you’ve forgotten?

Don’t you know the way around your own village?

 

Last summer, Paul, walking his bicycle beside me

is not yet

my lover. I want to see my city

through his eyes, 

get lost in Jerusalem

near the train station, where the trains never

run, and a small house stands

in the back, as if the city grew around its creamy stones,

its poignant laundry.

 

Like I want to get lost in my own body

and have him point out the sights:

the garden in front of the cinematheque,

the lions’ fountain at the intersection

in a cloud of bus exhaust,

the fig trees-

reveal my immigrant’s life to me

like a tour guide, an archeologist,

or the way a bomb blows away the building above

to expose the hidden foundation.

 

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Yosefa Raz is Zeek’s Poetry Editor. Her poetry, fiction, and translations have appeared in Glimmer Train, Tikkun Magazine, Lilith, Bridges, and ZYZZYVA. Her poetry book, In Exchange for a Homeland, was published in 2004 by Swan Scythe Press. Born and raised in Israel, she is currently working on a PhD at UC Berkeley on the prophetic voice in biblical poetry and its influence on the Hebrew Modernist poets.

The art that accompanies this piece is titled "Kaddish Stones" by Ken Goldman. Ken’s work may be found at http://www.coroflot.com/public/individual_work.asp?individual_id=197753&is_featured=-1&