The Younger Daughter
Atar Hadari (bio)

The girl I left by the side of the road
Was not the one I met at the well.
She was beautiful with an open hand
By the end she was scared of every thing

So she took her father’s bric-a-brac
(I don’t see how you could call those things gods)
And she kept them to feel safe and sound
out with me finally at night.

Was that a reason to take her hand
And let it clutch only the sand?
I ask the one who blows the wind
But he answers only with gusts.

So I remember at the well
She came, she let her vessel down
And I hit seven other men
To let her take her water home.

And I heard who she was and then
I wept that I could have such luck
And it was only fourteen years I worked,
I left with her—and she had to take rocks!

When my son walks around these tents
And flashes that great coat
I think about her and those hands,
How she would laugh, he has her throat.

And if he ever finds himself
Heaven forefend—alone at night—
I hope he knows his father’s hand
Found everything the rocks covered in sand.

I hope he knows you can leave all
The world behind and find a girl
And make a world between two walls
And lose it all for a few toys.

I hope he knows there’s nothing there
To fight for—only wind—
And when his brothers do what’s been required
Let them know his mother was my victory.

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