Three Poems


Yakir Ben-Moshe


/  in translation from the Hebrew by Dan Alter





I didn’t think that’s how I would part



I turned to go my way & Yakir went his.

Like a balloon broken away from a boy’s hand,

my body climbed up & I

remained a fool on the shore.


I didn’t think I’d step

into the same river a first time.





At this minute



Again my heart bursts with craving for Naomi. Yesterday I held her

by the thighs, so she wouldn’t fall off me at our final meeting,

so she wouldn’t fill with longing for her mythological Ex.

& we drank whisky until morning came, & I tasted my mouth

in her mouth. Now I’m holding that taste

as I try to write about lust, & fail.

I look at the window. The window looks at me. This very minute

Naomi is lowering her eyelids.





Language always returns to its motion



I too like to dream, I think hesitantly.

Language returns to its motion,

a bird rises

against a starry sky:

the body stammers only when it’s alone.

Someone selects

his mistaken image out of the silence.

But even when he’s alone

and it seems to him that he’s alone,

a naked thought pants toward him

like a lost dog


all the way to its owner.









Yakir Ben-Moshe, born 1973, won the Israel Prime Minister’s Prize for Literature in 2012.  He has published four books of poetry and one of children’s literature.  He lives with his wife and children in Tel Aviv, where he is the Literary Editor of the Bialik House, as well as a teacher of creative writing.  


Dan Alter has published poems widely in journals including Field, Fourteen Hills, Pank, and Zyzzyva.  His collection My Little Book of Exiles, published in 2022 by Eyewear Press, won the poetry prize for the 2022 Anne and Robert Cowan Writer’s Awards.  He lives in Berkeley with his wife and daughter where he makes his living as an IBEW electrician.  Dan Alter is online at



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