The Water Queen of Jerusalem
By Rahel Chalfi
Translated by Tsipi Keller
The Water Queen of Jerusalem
dives into history
history is hard and she grows fins
there is no air so she invents
gills rowing through memory
the Water Queen of Jerusalem owns
a bathing suit made out of Yiddish
the Water Queen of Jerusalem wallows
on a stone beach in
is afraid of the rising water level in Arabic
the Water Queen of Jerusalem has no
sea in Jerusalem
she has a history
and she holds
just holds her head
For Israel's 60th birthday, a poem by a modern Israeli writer. Judaism: A Quarterly Journal of Jewish Life and Thought had a feature reproduced here about feminist Hebrew poetry, saying, "Contemporary Israeli women's writing challenges the Hebrew language, tearing it at its seams, invading areas formerly restricted to masculine discourse...Chalfi (1945-) first explored a powerful feminist persona in aquatic imagery: in the poem 'The Water Queen of Jerusalem' the city is overwhelmed by its cultural baggage, while the protagonist herself is almost drowned. She triumphs, mutating into an ichtyoid in a process of evolution and definition of her subjectivity."
Not the most exciting of Wednesdays. I worked on html for a web page for my son, who has decided that he desperately wants his own domain for penguin photos and the like, but for some reason a photo that loads fine on a local html file won't work when I upload the file to the web (I think it's because his new domain forwards to a page on my web site, so there are essentially frames keeping the domain URL in place and the frames are somehow screwing with the tables). Then I took younger son to the orthodontist, where we got some bad news: not only do the braces need to go back on, but because it's considered a new phase in his treatment, with new molds and a new apparatus, we have to refinance and argue costs with our insurance. So it's painful for all of us! At least the braces won't have to go on till we get back from our long trip this summer so they won't affect what he can eat while traveling. He has one adult tooth that is refusing to budge from the gums because his mouth is small and it would just fit straight between the teeth but it's coming in at an angle, so there has to be more room. Sigh.
I see that the Olympic torch made it to the top of Mount Everest...I have mixed feelings because of the Tibet situation but it's a neat idea to take the Olympic flame to the top of the world, though I was wondering how they managed to light it with so little oxygen. Climbing is one of my favorite sports to read about, though not people who think the 8000 meters plus mountains are the only ones that count and not wealthy amateurs who pay tens of thousands of dollars for the privilege of losing toes, limbs or their lives in exchange for possible bragging rights. I made it up Mount Washington in the White Mountains, but I don't dream of climbing on Denali, let alone the Himalayas, though I would dearly love to walk around Mount Kailas.