Still Life

Edja in her pale rooms, divesting herself:
the walls tinted like the inside of shells
(tender and untouched).
Her shelves are ordered,
her counters stripped and wiped.
Refrigerator shelves glitter steel and light:
milk, yogurt, eggs incarnate white.

Cards crowd the kitchen wall,
mute voices calling her to Nadja’s wedding,
Eva’s party, the banquet honoring someone.
The telephone is dumb,
the couch sealed in plastic,
as if no one lived here,
as if already the shrouding had begun.

She sits on the floor,
around her scattered photographs:
pieces of a puzzle
that will never make a whole.

Here is Soraleh,
her face (that clever moon)
shadowed by the hat that never suited her:
Rosa, who died of diphtheria
before they knew how fortunate she was:
Max, lover of Chopin,
and the red-haired girl
who scorched his heart like flame,
Max, who married Anna in the end
and burned with her to bone:
and the cousins,
all the green-eyed children.

Edja in her pale rooms,
going through pictures,
divests herself.
She travels lightly,
emptying herself day by day,
for the journey home.

Voices Israel

Reena Ribalow's picture

I am a poet and writer living in Jerusalem. I have won first prize in the Moment Magazine Short Story Competition and in the Margaret Reid Poetry Prize. I was a finalist in both the short story and poetry competitions of Cutthroat magazine and had a story published there. I also won the Golden Prize and notable mention in the Stand Magazine Short Story Prize.I have been published in New York Quarterly, The Literary Review, Ariel, The Jerusalem Review, Shirim, The Jerusalem Post, Voices Israel, Israel Short Stories, Moment magazine and Cutthroat, among others.

Last updated May 29, 2011