THE MINISTER OF POETRY
To Yehuda Amichai
We were walking by the Labor Party Office
one night on Hayarkon Street.
The lights were on,
and you said, “They are choosing
the ministers for the new government.
I should go in and tell them
they need me as the Minister of Poetry.”
We walked on instead
to read at the American Embassy
There was a large crowd there,
drinks and little sandwiches,
a contextualizing speech by some professor
with someone important mentioning
something about a shortlist
for the big prize
and then the evening was over.
But you remain, for me,
from that night on
the Minister of Poetry.
It looks something like a vague train station,
but very smooth and in a dream.
And they have met here for the first time –
my dear aunt Chasha who died this morning,
and my Minister of Poetry, Yehuda Amichai,
who too has now been freed. They are on their way
to the most special part of heaven,
the site reserved for colossal souls
that incorporate everyone into their lives
and love and love and never deny
the ardor of others.
But their conversation is quite plain, a little mundane.
Perhaps they are talking about the times they never met
at Sloan-Kettering, and how they were born in the same year,
in the same world that vanished into their memories
and how felicitous to make each other’s acquaintance
now, as they are about to broaden the range of their embrace.