A Poem from Israel

March 21, 2022
translated by Marcela Sulak
A children's school desk painted blue, sitting in front of a wall painted similarly blue
Photo by Carli Jeen / Unsplash

Epistles to the Children

I am writing to the copiers,
to those who whisper to each other in fear,
to those who scratch their loves into the tables.
To the latecomers. To the ones who gaze
through windows. For those who forget
their notebooks. For those who fall asleep in their seats.
For those who don’t know the answers.
For she who erases what she wrote.
For those who are always sitting at the end.
For he who suddenly stands and leaves.

Translation from the Hebrew

Eli Eliahu’s publications include Epistles to the Children (Am Oved, 2018), Ir veh-beh-helot [City and fears] (Am Oved, 2011), and Ani veh lo malakh [I, and not an angel] (Helicon, 2008). He’s received the Matanel Prize for Young Jewish Writers (2013) and the Israel Prime Minister’s Prize in Poetry (2014).

Translator Marcela Sulak’s third poetry collection and her memoir were recently published by Black Lawrence Press. A 2019 NEA Translation Fellow and a 2017 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation finalist, she has translated five collections of poetry. Sulak is an associate professor of literature at Bar-Ilan University.