Hadara Bar-Nadav

Necklace

Dark chain of drool. Silver coil.

Quick noose that severs the starry
head of each dream.

Tighten and pull. Tighten and pull. Slice clean through.

At the center, a star. A wound.

A tooth chipped six times, a little shiver of flesh still
attached, red root, red mother who looks on.

To whom do I belong? What neck will have me?

Little star whose little heart is an SS death squad.

Each point like a dart—six darts, six knives.

I mark you with my terrible metal smile: You will die. And you, and you.

I burrow into the base of your neck, carve
away a dimple of bone

and scent myself with your skin—fear and damp hyacinth.

 
 

Box

A dozen voices and
a dozen voices. Lightless.

Their oversized coffin
on wheels.

A giant coffin
in which a hundred voices

and a thousand voices
end. Lightless.

Box and a box
and a box.

House of the dead
still standing.

Shoulder to shoulder.
Rib to rib.
Mouth to emptiness.

A picturesque scene: green
hills, a spotted deer
and her wisp of a fawn.

The open, cloudless sky.

And the giant coffins
trundle by.

Smoke spills
from a whistle’s throat.

Metal groans and cries
like a symphony

crushed underwheel.

A children’s game
to count the boxes,

each thundering one
and one and one.

When will it end.
(End.)

Coffins for a village
of giants,

cut from their god,
cut from the sky.

 

 

Five Moons (Intrauterine Insemination)

So many of you and not
nearly enough.

Five large eggs, their empty
promises.

A legion of nevers.

I plunged each needle
in, I plunged inside

a pinch of fat.

Bring on the supernumery.

The nurse’s dull speech
about “Selection”

lined in razor-wire,
like a Nazi commander

deciding who each day
again, again shooting

at the startled moon-
pale faces with blanks.

Here I hunt the perfect
egg, miracle of eugenics—

its bright blond smile.

Select out, select in,
pick off the blotched

or misshapen, small
afterthoughts legible

only in the leger
of delible facts.

Graph and pulse
cancelled—

a line run through like a sudden
blade.

Would I have a child,
a chance, or five,

and would they all perish.

 
 

Piano

Animal bent
by a cage.

Lion at the knees.

Song of bone
and wire.

Death on the wires.

The hands always hanging there—

An angular throat,
throat like a wing.

A note held and held.

Music
as it vanishes.

 

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Hadara Bar-Nadav’s newest book of poetry The New Nudity is forthcoming from Saturnalia Books. She is the author of Lullaby (with Exit Sign), awarded the Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize; The Frame Called Ruin, Editors Selection/Runner Up for the Green Rose Prize; and A Glass of Milk to Kiss Goodnight, awarded the Margie Book Prize, in addition to the chapbooks Fountain and Furnace, awarded the Sunken Garden Poetry Prize, and Show Me Yours, awarded the Midwest Poets Series Prize. Hadara also co-authored the best-selling textbook Writing Poems, 8th ed. She is Associate Professor of English at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.