The Target - Tal Nitzan


They closed their non-aiming eye

and watched the target

and chose an aiming point

and brought the edge of the blade

to the notch of the rear sight

with all the gunsights upright

and leaving a white thread

they shot.

But missed.

Managed to kill Muhamad El-Hayk, 24,

and severely wound his father Abdalla, 64,

all ‘as needed and according to procedures’,

but missed Maisun El-Hayk,

only slightly wounded her

in spite of her big belly

that happened to be a perfect aiming point

(but hadn’t they made her undress at the roadblock before

to ensure the belly was a belly indeed

and the labour pains – labour pains

before it occurred to them

to proceed with

‘suspect arrest procedure'?)

and also failed to hit

her foetus daughter

and send her to heaven

before she came to this world

– must have overlooked that white thread –

but did manage to inseparably seam

her birth day to her father’s burial

and reinforce the promise

‘in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children’

– no greater sorrow has been! –

as the shooting ceased

and Maisun called out for Muhamad

and the terror or the excruciating pain

twisted her voice

(‘Breathe slowly and deeply,

find the most comfy position,

think of something nice and pleasant,

ask your partner to dim the lights,

play your favourite music,

gently massage your lower back’)

and he, suddenly, stopped answering,

for if you haven’t seen Maisun’s photo,

her hands quivering over her daughter,

pink, calm, innocent

the way newborn babes are

– however, she was lucky

to have given birth to her on the hospital bed

rather than crouch like her sisters before her

like an animal in front of the soldiers

and then stumble ten kilometers,

walking and bleeding,

carrying the dead infant as an offering –

if you haven’t opened a non-aiming eye

to look at Maisun El-Hayk’s face,

you’ve never seen

bringing children forth in sorrow.


© Tal Nitzan


Bu şiir, Vivian Eden tarafından şairiyle birlikte İngilizce'ye çevrilmiş, İngilizcesinden Alper Yahyagil tarafından Türkçeleştirilerek Gard'ın 10. sayısında yer almıştır. Şiirin İngilizce versiyonu daha önce Modern Poetry in Translation dergisinin "Filistin Özel Sayısı"nda yayınlanmıştır.