When My Grandmother Was Rachel
Batnadiv HaKarmi

When My Grandmother Was Rachel

        And she called his name Joseph;
        and said, The Lord shall add to me another son. (Genesis 30:24)

She named her ghost child “more,”
and every babe she held in her arms
was more more more more more—

Behind each name lurked another name,
between her arms, the void. She knew 
how easy it was to disappear. Her father

was taken for seven years,
then returned as someone else.
Voracious, she gorged

on mandrake root, communed
with the dead. Gulped 
wells dry, only to cry them full again.

She turned her husband away. Buried
herself by the side of the road. Refused 
to come home, as she climbed, step by step,

to hammer at God’s door.

Batnadiv HaKarmi

is a writer and visual artist who currently resides in Jerusalem. Her work has been published in Radar Poetry, Belmond Story Review, and, most recently, Grey Sparrow Review. An alum of Bar Ilan University's graduating writing program, she is the recipient of the Andrea Moria Prize for Poetry and was shortlisted for the Brideport Prize.