He came back, but he came like a stranger
He came back, looked about and did not
Recall, for to him, all appeared estranged:
The house, the yard, the narrow lane.
Their memory sliced through his heart,
Cut, and he who survived and was favoured
Came back; and he who had sworn back there
That nothing would he forget, estranged though it be:
A dirt path, and the barren field and the ditch
At the edge, and the Lemon tree with its bitter fruit.
He felt that his absence was almost ordained:
To come back at last, to come like a stranger
With a shadowy memory that was not estranged,
And an unravelled thread of burning desire
That will never more be made whole.
By Elisha Porat
Translated from Hebrew to English by Asher Harris