Atar Hadari trained as an actor then won a scholarship to study poetry and playwrighting with Derek Walcott at Boston University. His SONGS FROM BIALIK: SELECTED POEMS of H. N. BIALIK” (Syracuse University Press) was a finalist for the American Literary Translators’ Association Award and his debut collection, REMBRANDT’S BIBLE, was published by Indigo Dreams in 2013. LIVES OF THE DEAD: POEMS of HANOCH LEVIN” was recently awarded a Pen Translates 2016 grant and is forthcoming from Arc Publications in 2017. He contributes a monthly verse bible translation column to MOSAIC magazine.
Louisville (N.B. locally pronounced, rhymes with Blueville) Outside of Louisville going fifty, maybe seventy an hour I saw these red lights on the tail light- I don't got no idea what car it was. Been drivin' eighty, maybe fifty miles per hour since sun crossed the brush-line, and it's 'bout to go back under. I see these red lights afore, I swear I see 'em lookin'- it's twilight time, trees cast flash light when the sun blinks behind 'em, like siren in my mirror. But ahead these lights is lookin' mighty familiar to a red dragon I used to know looked me in the eye from a picture book my grammaw left open at night in the kitchen when I was tryin to get some water- walkin' across the lino floor streaked white from all her muster up at dawn and down at dusk and noisy till the day broke even in her sleep that woman talked- a whiny buzzsaw- these lights outside Louisville glowin' an' I look again in his eyes, an' the more I look in his eyes, more mine turn to filled water, round small balls of cooling lead from a fire, warm but not burnin' like bath water, kinda sweet an' I don't know but if I rest a minute only a minute I can open them again and I'll live to do more drivin'. Lookin' in these eyes outside Louisville the dragon looks me inside me shakes the world and all the sunset trees burn the road wide open- hell like a woman's open mouth smiling up out at me and behind her dragon's tail snapping up and down like an impatient li'l puppy wanting to eat the sparrow's fallen down blue egg- I pull my eyes wide and stare like there's no tomorrow only a hell in my way and a tongue that's made to lick my heart. I eat the road like the road was born of woman-I eat the road like a hand that's about to pet my neck and call me honey. Killed the dragon dead just outside Louisville going fifty, maybe eighty more- an hour- he said- "don't let me see you crawlin' 'cross my tongue at sunset" I said "I'll see you, honey."