by Gili Haimovich (Gyva’taim, Israel)
I practice on my kitten what I would answer
If I would ever have a child and he or she would ask me:
“Mum, where do your words come from”?
Well, my Canadian kitten,
My English words come from above,
From the emptiness.
From the void space
In my mouth.
Between the upper and the lower
“But where does your Hebrew come from, Mum? With me you always speak Hebrew”.
Well, my child,
(The child would not be Canadian nor Israeli, but just a child),
My Hebrew is lying in my tummy,
Like comfort food.
Waiting for you.
Gili Haimovich is an international poet and translator who writes in both Hebrew and English. She has six volumes of poetry in Hebrew. Her most recent, Landing Lights (Iton 77 Publishing House, 2017), received a grant from Acum, as did her previous book. She also received a grant nominating her as an outstanding artist by the Israeli Ministry of Immigrant Absorption (2015). Her poetry in English is featured in her chapbook, Living on a Blank Page (Blue Angel Press, 2008) and in numerous journals and anthologies, such as World Literature Today, Poetry International, International Poetry Review, LRC – Literary Review of Canada, Poem Magazine, Asymptote, Drain Magazine, Blue Lyra, Circumference and TOK: Writing the New Toronto as well as main Israeli journals, newspapers and anthologies including The Most Beautiful Poems in Hebrew (Yedioth Ahronot Books, 2013). You can visit her website for more information about her and her work: www.poetryon.com.
“Comfort Food” originally appeared in Drain Magazine, and is reprinted here with the kind permission of the author.