Peretz Opochinski: Homeless


by Peretz Opochinski

Slowly I lock my door
Let none of my neighbors see
how I wander drunk with grief.

Today is market day in the city
wagons come with produce from the countryside
I follow them to market
and see the women bargaining
over the cabbage price.

How many precious vegetables!
So many women, countless women!
What sort of day is today
A day of rushing sadness
Near a booth with fabric
stands a small cart.
I sit down and rest.
Someone looks at me suspiciously,
Hey mister!
A thief sits on your cart now
come to take away the joy
of your happy hour.
So I get up and go
It’s all the same –
I can rest no more on a cart:
there are so many gentile women
stubborn as is their custom
with full sacks of berries, eggs and cheese
and Jewish women, disheveled, busy
with stands of socks, cereal, poultry
Can I go tell them:
all the bad dreams of my dark hour!

Hey women!
Buy slippers, ribbons, buy combs
or don’t.
I shuffle peacefully among housewives and sellers
I lie down right here at the market
and laugh at myself and at you
You say:
God is merciful and powerful.
I will jeer you and God
What’s the use of a day like this to me
when I steal in the market..?

Once upon a time there was peace and quiet in the world
and I went full of joy in my heart
to God
innocent like a child
to his father’s house
Now my days lie in wait
like thieves in the night
Ekh – merchants take me
to your carts..!

I don’t know how
my heart can stand
to be banned from the world.
I go about here and there
and wait for a miracle.
What more can happen to me
if God is not here?

I don’t love my mother
for her belief in Eve
And my child –
I let wander about
on a shameful road.
Once I was a lone house
with foundation
and lost my way