Friday 5 May 2023

4 Poems by Gershon Ben-Avraham

Broken Hearts Heard Rattling

I awake at dawn, fresh from dreams of you
robed anew in the limpid dew of youth,
your scent asleep, buried in the pillow
beside me; my cracked heart dead within me.

Like a bird alone on a rain-wet roof,
I cry to all who’ll listen; not loudly,
but softly, as the sound of autumn leaves
blown by an easy wind across a lawn.

Unexpected, this growing old—outworn,
solitary, almost beyond bearing.
Yet, even the most loving lovers part,
their broken hearts heard rattling within them.

He No Longer Seeks Cures

He no longer seeks cures,
the repair of broken things.
Healing lies in peace, in
flying with injured wings, in
walking with a halting
gait yet still rejoicing in
the journey. But what when
this ends? To lie quietly,
as best he can; to feel
the soothing touch of a hand,
the hand of one he’s loved,
loves, will love, till his breath stops.

On Listening to Schubert

A voice so beautiful it was almost lonely.
—Yasunari Kawabata, Snow Country

The sounds found me seated alone,
in the midst of shadows,
with a stiffened back,
my eyes lightly closed.

Such strangeness—
lungs pushing air
through shaped lips,
wounding from a distance.

Walking home, I kept repeating.
“Sounds, they were only sounds.”
Yet such wounds they made—
I could not stop their bleeding.

The Marriage Bed

It was through a thin, smooth skin that man loved.
—Yasunari Kawabata, Snow Country

On my back, in darkness, I hear the slow,
steady breathing of the woman. I turn,
and my skin brushes hers softly, gently.
Just this. A whisper. A feather. A kiss.
Her wakened soul floats to her skin’s surface,
seeks, finds, and pulls my heart into her own;
surrounds it, a shell covering a pearl
perched on the edge of a sandy, sea-washed,
weary world. I sleep to the sound of waves;
depart at dawn, slowly. I slip through her
valley of perfumed breasts, reluctantly,
like the first man, leaving Paradise, still
laden with the sweet, sweet scent of Eden.


Gershon Ben-Avraham’s work has appeared in Big Muddy, Image, Poetry Pacific, Rappahannock Review, The Agape Review, Tipton Poetry Journal, and other literary publications. His short story “Yoineh Bodek,” (Image) earned “Special Mention” in the Pushcart Prize XLlV: Best of the Small Presses 2020 Edition. Kelsay Books published his poetry chapbook God’s Memory in 2021.

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