Poetry: Mare Leonard’s “Israeli Family Trip”

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Image: “Untitled.” Photograph by Cyril Larvor, Paris, France. @cyrillarvor,

Israeli Family Trip
Mare Leonard 

The husband takes a wrong turn driving along a curvy mountain road toward
The Redwoods.
This mishap, a simple mistake–no crash, no flip over cliffs provokes his wife’s fear
of heights, forces her to yell out, “You have to turn around, ohh, you’re killing me!” Their
child in the back of the van cries out, “I’m going to get sick, stop,
Mommy, I need…”

*Saba, *Savta, on a Thanksgiving visit, sit close, stare at Waze, try to find a way out. “Please
close your eyes, meditate, breathe, dear Adi.” The cliff is steep, no guard rails to hold them
back. Adi twists, turns, sweats in her phobic attack. Her Israeli family soothes with lullabies:
Your kind eyes/I saw before…and I’m still longing.     

Those who live in a land of terror sing in sweet tones while home in Israel, a man slashes a
tourist’s face on the Teyelet, a woman lights a fire in Haifa to burn down the country,
and since it’s America’s biggest shopping day, Saba tosses some Israeli humor into the air,
“Our Black Friday.”

And on the news, the family hears: a suicide bomber detonated himself on Dizengoff Street
at the moment a brother and sister, home from the beach, step down from a bus. The
brother dies, the sister falls to the sidewalk. She can’t yell, “You’re killing me,” only softly
begs, “Ema, Mommy.” No one to sing, “Your kind eyes,” No one to guide her over the cliff.


*grandpa   *grandma




About the writer:
Mare Leonard teaches workshops for all ages through the Institute for Writing and Thinking and the MAT program at Bard College. Most recently she published in Perfume River‘s two volumes re Vietnam and a landay in Figroot.





By | 2017-11-09T17:58:16+00:00 November 8th, 2017|LITERARY ARTS, Narrative, Poetry, Uncategorized|