May 11, 2018

Annie Kantar

A MATTER OF TIME

Gaza

Say one scalding summer,
you had 100 minutes

alone of electricity each day:

how would you use them?

Maybe you’d have
dinner by the LED,

or bring them to the sea,

shine figure 8s on the foam.
But what if the water

nauseates?

Bored at home,
would you let them go?

They’re about to come on.

Would you waste

what you’ve got for talk
of failing sewage pumps?

If you fall

asleep,
will they
be yours?

Would you play them

from your phone?
Draw them in the sand?

If a line, where and when?
The drones care.

Say the sea
takes them—

would that matter?

And if someone calls?
Will you answer?

from Rattle #59, Spring 2018
Tribute to Immigrant Poets

[download audio]

__________

Annie Kantar: “Sixteen years ago, while in Israel on a Fulbright Scholarship to translate Israeli poetry, I met my husband, an Israeli, and stayed. I feel fortunate to be able to live in Jerusalem. Yet, I can’t forget that my immigration is implicated in privilege. This privilege makes me want to listen carefully. I listen best with poetry. Throughout this past summer, Gaza was cut off from electricity for all but two hours each day. ‘A Matter of Time’ was born of Skype conversations during those months with a close Gazan friend while he sat in the dark on the roof of his family’s home in a refugee camp. He could see me; but the lack of electricity on his end precluded, on many occasions, my seeing him. Little has changed; at the time of this writing, five months later, Gazans are allocated three to four hours of electricity a day. This poem was born of a desire to articulate, to some small extent, the madness in that normalcy.”

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