Saturday 5 November 2016

4 Poems by Gershon Ben-Avraham

A Phantom Limb

Deep wounds do not heal.
They lie concealed.
The wounded moves,
always aware of their being.
In time, the wounded becomes the wound,
learns to live, even yearns to live,
in the wound’s dark damaged world.

Asked to return, to go again to
where once he had been whole,
and walked not with this limping gait,
the wounded baulks.
There is no place to go.
He and the wound are one.

Nothing now needs healing.
The former self achieves non-being --
becomes a vagueness, a strangeness,
a severed, decaying part -
a phantom limb.

Come to Me not this Winter

Come to me not this winter.
This one’s been hard.
My hands are cut,
my forearms bruised,
from holding up the walls of my life,
from fighting the cold that
constantly comes to claim me.
It slips beneath my door at night,
sits silently in a corner of my room,
departs slowly with morning light,
like a lover leaving a lover’s tomb.
No. Though much I long to see you,
more still to hold you,
do not come.
Come to me not this winter.

More than a Leash Binds Us

...he made him a coat of many colors.
-- Genesis 37.3

Every morning, before the world wakes up,
we walk, my dog and I.
Our pace is slow;
mine because of age,
his because of joy.

He lingers over late night scents,
flowers newly bent,
strange tufts of grass.
Later, he is patient as I stand,
eyes closed, in a copse of trees,
listening to the wind moving leaves.

There is a field the way we go.
Unleashed, his heart runs his legs in circles,
the sun shining off his coat --
more glorious than Joseph’s.
Finished, he lies panting at my feet,
looking up as if to say,
“Wasn’t that neat what I did.”

He finds a stick and gently picks it up,
waves it like a drum major’s baton
as we continue our way home.

More than a leash binds us
as we walk, my dog and I.
More than a leash binds us.

The Memory of Your Caress

Last night you came to me,
riding lightly upon the breeze
that entered my bedroom window.

I breathed you in, tasted you,
felt the earth upon my tongue.

I turned on my side,
and gazing through the open window
vainly sought to see you there.

There, was only darkness;
there, only emptiness.

You are to me now as the wind,
felt, sometimes heard,
not seen.

Yet, in your leaving,
curtains parting as you left,
my body perceived in memory
the memory of your caress.


Gershon Ben-Avraham lives with his wife Beth and the family’s collie Kulfi in Be’er Sheva, Israel. He holds an MA in Philosophy (Aesthetics) from Temple University in Philadelphia. His poem “The Kabbalist” earned Honorable Mention in the 2015 Anna Davidson Rosenberg Poetry Awards. His poem “The Obituary” published by Poetry Pacific was nominated for a 2015 Pushcart Prize. His poetry has appeared in both online and print journals including: Ancient Paths, Bolts of Silk, Chantarelle's Notebook, Jewish Literary Journal, Numinous: Spiritual Poetry, Poetica, Poetry Pacific, The Deronda Review, and WestWard Quarterly.

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