Jerusalem – Eve Lyons

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You get to know my Jerusalem
reading poetry
in cheaply published anthologies and
sitting in Kikkar Tzion watching
reactions to Rabin’s funeral.

In my Jerusalem,
you have to travel the right back alley
to find your soul’s rest stop,
there’s always someone
giving directions, leaving you
to know how to ask.

Tsfat is for artists and Hasidim.
Tverya—hardworking Israelis on vacation.
Hebron is for soldiers
who search you
before you enter holy tombs to pray.
Jerusalem is for everyone.

It is the fire that burns
inside our treks
across the Northern border.
It is the ashes we rebuild again and again.

In this country,
in this holy old city
I feel indigenous,
though it fades
when I speak bad Hebrew
with my American tongue.

Three thousand years ago
my mother’s predecessors
prayed in the Temple
I now pray above. Perhaps
one of her ancient mothers also stared
at the huge stone mehitza
between her and the Holiest of Holies,
wondered what it meant
for her to be a Jew.

Eve Lyons is a poet, fiction writer, and playwright living in the Boston area. She is also an expressive arts therapist.  Her work has previously been published in “Lilith,” “Poetica,” “New Vilna Review,” “Concho River Review,” “Word Riot,” “Mutha Magazine,” “Hip Mama,” and several anthologies.  

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