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The Fifth Leaf

To My Mother

I was just a child when my father sent me
into the alfalfa field, running
barefoot on the cracked earth,
excited at the prospect of finding him
a special five-leafed specimen.
To this day I remember:
a crisp October in a translucent fall,
bees buzzing in
soft lumps of purple honey.
I moved past him, but
time defeated me; and so
standing on the low wall
in the shadow of the graveyard,
I call to him just as I did then:
Father; eternity; sweet alfalfa.
I was a child and my foot was bleeding, but
in my hand I held the botanical wonder:
a five-leafed plant
and sorrow that knows no consolation.
Translated from the Hebrew by Cindy Eisner

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