An Israeli soldier met an American woman
and asked if he could show her Jerusalem—
the cobblestone alleyways, the soft golden light;
anything can seem holy in Jerusalem.
They walked and he told her his story: how he lied
about his asthma to work on a navy ship;
how an officer found him gasping in the basement
and turned him in; how he works in an office now
and doesn’t feel like a man; how you don’t understand
what it’s like to be owned until some bastard decides
when you can sleep.
Later, in the car, he wanted to fuck her.
She said no, and he got mad.
He locked the doors, said, I won’t look
you in the eye, come on, just let me
fuck you, please won’t you let me fuck you,
god, you don’t know what it’s like to be owned.
You said her name again.
My heart dropped, like a bird
who’s flown too far, and falls
right out of the sky.
My words are bricks.
sentences with them
and fill the empty spaces
I envy the scars
on your wrist—
they glimmer in the light
like thin silver fish.
Dahlia Seroussi is a bilingual poet born, raised, and living in the San Francisco Bay Area. She graduated from University of California Santa Cruz with a bachelor’s degree in Literature and a concentration in Creative Writing. She also studied book arts and letter press printing. Her chapbook, What I Know, is scheduled to be published by Finishing Line Press in 2013.