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Why Do They Love Him?

Sharon

by AHARON SHABTAI

Why do they love Sharon? Because he is heavy he is wide he is stuffed, has invisible edges, but he is whole, continuous, and he rises, and rises again, always rolling. And when he sits it all comes to him, meat, money, real estate. For he is not weak, not transparent, doesn’t tremble as a leaf, but is sealed, viscid, with thickness, not crispy, he is flexible, usable, lies around, crouches, takes over space, shelters, hides, fences, blocks. For he opens his mouth, gluttonous, swallows, unashamed to take a meat ball off the table with the cartons of fries, teaches to satisfy the appetite, to take things, to enlarge the mass, the territory, the quantities. For he opens cracks, windows, roads in the landscape, breaks even through cement or iron, but always closes it as well, cuts off corners, remembers to lock up, to fortify, doesn’t leave a crack for a lizard, but reaches his arm as if through a sleeve of doubt, and seals it all, with a wall, with a tank, with housing, with ownership, with a platoon. For he smiles, smiles as a round man, rounds things up, moves around like a pancake, bypasses, flanks, circles, and returns again in a different cycle. For he shares his smile generously, and everyone is invited to smile, even in the mud, even over the pool of blood. For he sticks his hand in the pocket, elbows, pats on the back. For he commands, moves people, moves vehicles, moves houses, moves a tree, a field, borders. For he carries the wars in his arms like suitcases, as if heading for a trip. And everything within them is organized, the living and the dead, like folded shirts, ironed underwear, clean socks, handkerchiefs. Suitcase by suitcase all lined up, each made of shiny leather, with a padded leather handle,  accessorized at the corners, with shiny nickel buckles and bolts. For if he will go, disappear, he will no longer be heavy, wide, stuffed, with invisible edges. He will be incomplete, incontinuous, won’t rise and rise again, will never roll. He will not sit, and nothing will come to him. Not meat, not money, not real estate. For he will be weak, transparent, will tremble as a leaf, will be unsealed, inviscid, not thick, crispy, inflexible, unusable, will never lie around, won’t crouch, won’t take over space, will not shelter, not hide, not fence, not block. For he won’t open his mouth, won’t be gluttonous, won’t swallow, won’t take a meat ball off the table with the cartons of fries. He won’t teach: not to satisfy the appetite, not to take things, and not to enlarge the mass, the territory, the quantities. He won’t open cracks, windows, roads in the landscape, won’t even break through cement or iron, and will never close anything, won’t cut off corners, won’t remember to lock up, to fortify, he will leave a crack for a lizard, won’t reach his arm as if through a sleeve of doubt, and won’t seal, not with a wall, not with a tank, not with housing, not with ownership, nor with a. platoon. He won’t smile, will never smile as a round man, won’t round things up, won’t move around like a pancake, bypass, flank, circle, and won’t return again in a different cycle. He won’t share his smile generously, and won’t encourage anyone to smile, not in the mud, not over the pool of blood. He won’t stick his hand in his pocket, won’t elbow, won’t pat on the back. He won’t command, won’t move people, won’t move vehicles, won’t move houses, won’t move a tree, a field, a border. He shall not carry the wars in his arms like suitcases, as if heading for a trip, and nothing, neither the living nor the dead, will be organized like folded shirts, ironed underwear, clean socks, handkerchiefs. The suitcases will no longer stand, lined up suitcase by suitcase, each made of shiny leather, with a padded leather handle, accessorized at the corners, with shiny nickel buckles and bolts.

Aharon Shabtai is an Israeli poet, whose prose-poem “Sharon” will appear in With Our Eyes Wide Open: Poems of the New American Century (West End Press, March 2014).