My mother piles spices on a plate as slowly as in a bottle of colorful soil: bright red pepper, crushed garlic on the bottom, turmeric in the middle with coarse salt like her hands, slowly a cone of colors was formed, a clown laughing sadly, my mother piling spices like her feelings of frustration, bitterness and love. She mixed them well with water and cook on low heat with halved potatoes. My mother concocted life. And we children eat, crushing the love arrows, the bitterness of garlic, and the frustration of the words in that red stew. Dip the bread and eat. This is how we grew up living a whole life, halved.
אִִּמּ עוֹרֶֶמֶת תַבְלִיִנִים ַעַל ַצַלַַּחַתלְַאַט כְּמֹוֹ בְּבַקְבּּוּק עָָפָר צִבְעוִֹנִי:
פִּלְֵּפּ אֲדֹםֹ בּוֵֹהֵק ,שּׂוּם מָעּוּך בְּתַחְִּתִּי ,וְכֻּרכּּוּם בְּאֶמְַצַע לְַיַד הַמֶַּלַח הַַּס כְּמֹוֹ יָדֶיָהָ.
ַאַט ַאַט נוַֹצַר קוֹנּוּס צִבְעוִֹנִי ,לֵיָצָן צוֵֹחֵק בְּעֶֶצֶב .
אִִּמּ עוֹרֶֶמֶת תַבְלִיִנִים כְּמֹוֹ ֶאֶת רִגְשוֹתֶיָהָ:
תִּסְכּּוּל מְרִירּוּת וְהָאַהֲָבָה .
מְעַרבֶֶּבֶת טֹוֹב ִעִם מִַיִם וּמְבַשֶֶׂלֶת ַעַל אֵׁשׁ קְטַָּנּ ִעִם תַּפּוֵּחֵי אֲדָָמָה חֲצוּיִיִם וְרֶֶסֶק אֲדָמֹוֹת מִקֻפְַסַת שִׂימוִּרִים .
אִִּמּ רוֹקַַחַת ַחַיִים.
וְאָנּוּ הַיְלִָדִים אוֹכְִלִים ,מוֹעֲִכִים ֶאֶת חִיֵצֵּי הָאַהֲָבָה בִּמְרִירּוּת הַשּּׁוּם ,ֶאֶת תִסְכּּוּל הַמִיִלִים בָּרוֶֹטֶב הָאָדֹוֹם הָאָדֹוֹם הֶַּזֶּ .
טוֹבְִלִים ֶאֶת ַהַלֶֶּחֶם וּבוֹלְִעִים .
ָּכּ ָּדַלְנּוּ ַחַיִים שְׁלִֵמִים ,חֲצוִּיִים.
Zehava Khalfa, mother of two, was born in Alma, in northern Israel. She studied genetics and Middle East politics at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and graduated with M.A and M.Sc. She is currently writing her doctoral thesis at the University of Potsdam in the field of Judaism and Religious Studies on the subject of settlement policy during the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005. Since the end of 2015 she has been involved in the German Red Cross’s aid, for accompaniment and translation of Arabic into German. Her poems have been published in the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz and in the magazines: Mikan Ve’elakh, Poem, Kefel, Motiv and in the Hebrew Library Berlin. Her poems were read in 2015 as part of Daham event’s “The solidarity with the Syrian people”.