I am sitting here now with my father's eyes,
and with my mother's greying hair on my head,
in a house that belonged to an Arab
who bought it from an Englishman
who took it from a German
who hewed it from the stones
of Jerusalem, my city:
I look upon God's world of others
who received it from others.
I am composed of many things
I have been collected many times
I am constructed of spare parts
of decomposing materials
of disintegrating words. And already
in the middle of my life, I begin,
gradually, to return them,
for I wish to be a decent and orderly person
when I'm asked at the border, "Have you anything to declare?"
so that there won't be too much pressure at the end
so that I won't arrive sweating and breathless and confused
so that I won't have anything left to declare.
The red stars are my heart, the Milky Way
its blood, my blood. The hot khamsin
breathes in huge lungs, my life
pulses close to a huge heart, always within.
translated from the Hebrew by Ruth Nevo
Sheep Meadow Press