Translation by Avia Tadmor
by Ronny Someck
My grandfather was born in the land of arak.
On the bottle labels were painted lions, their manes combed-out
and posing like sheep.
“King of the Beasts,” his fingers would tremble
and on his fine-haired mustache, the wind would sketch the longitudes
and latitudes of the jungle of my dreams.
Lucky I wandered on my way,
or my father might have been Jack Daniels
and Gin would have rocked the tonic cradle in my throat.
In the empty bottles I’d throw into the sea
I put a note in his memory,
drunk with love.
Avia Tadmor is an Israeli writer living in New York. She is a student of poetry and literary translation at Columbia University’s Graduate Writing Program, where she also directs the Columbia Artist/Teachers Program. She also teaches creative writing at Gilda’s Club, a support center with people living with cancer and their caregivers.
Ronny Someck is a Baghdad-born Israeli poet, author, and visual artist. He has published 11 volumes of poetry and among his awards are the Prime Minister’s Award and the Yehuda Amichai Award for Hebrew poetry. He frequently engages in collaborative projects with writers, musicians, and video-artists in the Middle East and teaches creative writing in low-income schools and mental health institutes in Israel.