Concerning That Burning

A selection of English translations of work by the poet Yael Statman.

Yael Statman (born 1984) grew up in the Lower Galilee and lives in Tel Aviv. She works as a developmental psychologist. She is married and a mother of three. Her debut collection of poetry, Concerning That Burning, was published in January 2021 by Hakibbutz Hameuchad – Sifriat Poalim.

Statman’s poetry encompasses the domestic and phantasmatic spheres; it mourns the loss of childhood wildness but does so in a humorous, sharpened way. The poems extract a sense of redemption from everyday experiences, and love – for the poet’s children, her husband, life – serves as a focal point for many of them. Untamed, comforting, and smart, these poems offer a true rejoicing in poetry itself.

Don’t Stop Knowing Me
To Yaakov

Let’s stay safe until the winter. You know,
long days by the pool and the sun marks on your reddening thighs
and warm nights’ languor. We will do what we can to sink or
float, or whatever the word for describing the senses fusing together
with heat, the way we hear
beads of sweat rolling down our daughter’s cheek
in her sleep. You know me, how you know me
this summer, don’t stop knowing me,
let’s save the marks we left on the sofa, peaceful
in our daze, the children breathing on the other side of the wall,
and sometimes a poem in the newspaper makes
the newspaper go away, this is our news.

In the nearby park a couple is fighting, we could
have been either side, the grass scratched my feet,
I stood up, this was also a part of it, knowing
that I could have been the man, you could have been the woman,
we could have been the baby in the stroller, we were the future and the past
of every couple, every story was a little bit ours too
and so, we will do what we can.
You know me so well, and this is
something I haven’t told you—
that I am happy with you,
that I would have repeated it all.

אל תפסיק להכיר אותי

,בֹּא נִשְׁמֹר עַל עַצְמֵנוּ עַד הַחֹרֶף. אַתָּה יוֹדֵעַ
יָמִים שְׁלֵמִים בַּבְּרֵכָה וְסִימָנֵי הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ בִּירֵכֶיךָ הַמֲאַדִימוֹת
וְעַצְלוּת הַלֵּילוֹת הַחַמִּים. נַעֲשֶׂה מָה שֶׁנּוּכַל כְּדֵי לִשְׁקֹעַ אוֹ
לַצּוּף, אוֹ מָה שֶׁלֹּא תִּהְיֶה הַמִּלָּה
שֶׁמְּתָאֶרֶת אֶת הִתְמַזְּגוּת הַחוּשִׁים זֶה בְּזֶה מֵרֹב
חוֹם, אֶת הָאֹפֶן שֶׁבּוֹ אֲנַחְנוּ שׁוֹמְעִים
אֶגְלֵי זֵעָה מִתְגַּלְגְּלִים עַל לֶחְיַהּ שֶׁל בִּתֵּנוּ
בִּשְׁנָתָהּ. אַתָּה מַכִּיר אוֹתִי, אֵיךְ אַתָּה מַכִּיר אוֹתִי
,בַּקַּיִץ הַזֶּה, אַל תַּפְסִיק לְהַכִּיר אוֹתִי
בֹּא נִשְׁמֹר עַל סִימָנִי שְׁנֵינוּ בְּכָרִיּוֹת הַסַּפָּה, שְׁלֵוִים
,בְּעִילַפוֹן, נְשִׁימוֹת הַיְּלָדִים מֵעֵבֶר לַקִּיר
לִפְעָמִים מִתְפַּרְסֵם בָּעִתּוֹן שִׁיר שֶׁמַּשְׁכִּיחַ אֶת
.הָעִתּוֹן, אֵלֶּה הַחֲדָשׁוֹת שֶׁלָּנוּ

בַּפַּארְק לְיָדֵינוּ רַב זוּג עִם עֲגָלָה, יָכֹלְנוּ לִהְיוֹת
,כָּל אֶחָד מֵהַצְּדָדִים, הַדֶּשֶׁא שָׂרַט אֶת רַגְלַי
נֶעֱמַדְתִּי, גַּם זֶה חֵלֶק מֵהָעִנְיָן, לָדַעַת
,שֶׁיָּכֹלְתִּי לִהְיוֹת הַגֶּבֶר, יָכֹלְתָּ לִהְיוֹת הָאִשָּׁה
יָכֹלְנוּ לִהְיוֹת הַתִּינוֹק בַּעֲגָלָה, הָיִינוּ הֶעָתִיד וְהֶעָבָר
שֶׁל כָּל זוּג, כָּל סִפּוּר הָיָה קְצָת הַסִּפּוּר שֶׁלָּנוּ
.לָכֵן נַעֲשׂה מָה שֶׁנּוּכַל
אַתָּה מַכִּיר אוֹתִי טוֹב כָּל כָּךְ, וְאֶת זֶה
– עוֹד לֹא אָמַרְתִּי לְך
,שֶׁאֲנִי מְאֻשֶּׁרֶת אִתְּךָ
.שֶׁהָיִיתִי חוֹזֶרֶת שׁוּב עַל הַכֹּל

My Husband’s Therapist Hates Me

She puts all these ideas into his head

he calls to take me out for lunch
he says we should get a babysitter

but I can see her behind him
behind the phone, behind the lunch

specials, I see her
and her counselor

and her notes, hand-written
and typed, and with her children
during family dinner: You won’t believe
what my patient is going through.

and I see behind her words
myself, taking care of my husband

you really are dealing with a lot

and giving him tips
even though it’s hardly professional,
but he caught my heart

and his wife, bitch.

הפסיכולוגית של בעלי שונאת אותי

הִיא מַכְנִיסָה לוֹ כָּאֵלֶּה רַעֲיוֹנוֹת לָרֹאשׁ

הוּא מִתְקַשֵּׁר וּמַזְמִין אוֹתִי לְלַאנְץ’
הוּא מַצִּיעַ לְהָבִיא בֶּיְבִּיסִיטֶר

אֲבָל אֲנִי רוֹאָה אוֹתָהּ מֵאֲחוֹרָיו
מֵאֲחוֹרֵי הַטֵּלֵפוֹן, מֵאֲחוֹרֵי הָעִסְקִית

צָהֳרַיִם, אֲנִי רוֹאָה אוֹתָהּ
וְאֶת הַמַּדְרִיכָה שֶׁלָּהּ

וְאֶת הָרְשִׁימוֹת שֶׁלָּהּ, בִּכְתַב יָד
וּבַמַּחְשֵׁב, וּבְעַל פֶּה לַיְּלָדִים שֶׁלָּהּ
בַּאֲרוּחַת עֶרֶב מִשְׁפַּחְתִּית: אַתֶּם לֹא
.תַּאֲמִינוּ מָה שֶׁעוֹבֵר עַל הַמְּטֻפָּל שֶׁלִּי

וַאֲנִי רוֹאָה מֵאֲחוֹרֵי הַמִּלִּים שֶׁלָּהּ
אֶת עַצְמִי, מְטַפֶּלֶת בְּבַעֲלִי

אַתָּה בֶּאֱמֶת מִתְמוֹדֵד עִם קֹשִׁי גָּדוֹל נוֹרָא

וְנוֹתֶנֶת לוֹ הָמוֹן עֵצוֹת
,אֲפִלּוּ שֶׁזֶּה לֹא מִקְצוֹעִי
אֲבָל הוּא נִכְנַס לִי לַלֵּב

.וְאִשְׁתּוֹ, סְתוּמָה

Covers All Sins

All sins will be covered by
the toilet handle, covered by the blue foam
and the faithful heart that quickly goes on
calmly beating. Covered by the sewage pipe,
covered by the drowsy midday hour,
covered by the empty house.

All sins will be covered by the other pages
in the journal, the ones I didn’t rip out, didn’t throw
into the toilet, didn’t send to the scum
teeth, the ghastly mouth at the bottom of
consciousness.

And love will cover, in torrents of water,
in fire, in storm, gently,
with much mercy, sometimes

in peace, for peace, down the slopes
of the body, most of the time, most sins
will be covered.

על כל פשעים תכסה

יָדִית הָאַסְלָה, יְכַסּוּ הַקֶּצֶף הַכָּחֹל
וְהַלֵּב הַנֶּאֱמָן שֶׁחוֹזֵר בִּמְהִירוּת
לִפְעֹם בְּנַחַת. תְּכַסֶּה תְּעָלַת הַבִּיּוּב,
תְּכַסֶּה שְׁעַת הַצָּהֳרַיִם הַמְּנֻמְנֶמֶת,
יְכַסֶּה הַבַּיִת הָרֵיק.

עַל כָּל פְּשַׁעִים יְכַסּוּ הַדַּפִּים הָאֲחֵרִים
בַּיּוֹמָן, אֵלֶּה שֶׁלֹּא קָרַעְתִּי, שֶׁלֹּא הִשְׁלַכְתִּי
לַשֵּׁרוּתִים, שֶׁלֹּא שִׁלַּחְתִּי לְשִׁנֵּי
הַיְּרֹקֶת, לַלֹּעַ הַמַּבְאִישׁ שֶׁל תַּחְתִּית
.הַהַכָּרָה

וּתְכַסֶּה הָאַהֲבָה, בְּשֶׁטֶף מַיִם,
בְּלֶהָבָה, בִּסְעָרָה, בְּרַכּוּת,
בְּרַחֲמִים רַבִּים, לִפְעָמִים

בְּשָׁלוֹם, לְשָׁלוֹם, בַּמּוֹרָדוֹת
,הַגּוּף, רֹב הַזְּמַן, רֹב הַפְּשַׁעִים
.יְכֻסּוּ

Translated from the Hebrew by Maayan Eitan. 

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