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Audio: Read by the author. 


Afraid of direction
how can I make this plain.

The city on fire,
copper veined.

Checkpoint to be here,
to be alive.

The many tongues of prayer,
many forms of God collide.

Nod to teens with machine guns
who may be my friends,

then press my hand against bone-
colored blocks of stone,

mapless by the Jerusalem wall
where wailing was born

and doves, dozens of them,
and the women humming.

Whelming. Welcome. Warp.

Witness to blindness,
godcrush, war.

I steady myself
and pray to a wall.

Radiant gold shooting up
my eyes as the sun

drops and dies.

I can barely stand
as I walk away backwards.




Hadara Bar-Nadav is the author of several collections of poetry, most recently The New Nudity and Lullaby (with Exit Sign) (both from Saturnalia). Recipient of an NEA fellowship in poetry, she is professor of English at the University of Missouri–Kansas City.



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