Let Us Go, My Beloved by Yael Massen


Your despoilers will become your spoil                        והיו למשסה שאסיך
Far away shall be any who devour you                             ורחקו כל מבלעיך
Your God will rejoice concerning you                             ישיש עליך אלהיך
As a groom rejoices over a bride                                   כמשוש חתן על כלה

from Lecha Dodi, לכה דודי‎

To hear glassbreak under Simcha’s right foot / means the shouts will soon follow: good luck

is needed. He rejoices over her, upon her / face until it shines blue. This is no love-

bite or symptom of bliss: my grandfather was a terrible man. / I do not ask my mother about

her platethrown childhood / shards / affixed into sole & sheetrock. // I seat her at the table,

fold her hands into each other / watch: / Safta kneads the evening flour / בואי כלה בואי כלה  /

There are other places a daughter should never see her mother from: / the open door, back-

alley clinic / Safta is fevered— a once-child pulled from the womb sickens its mother / a goodbye-

refrain / refrain / refrain / When Safta lost her youngest-born, Orli / she began to join her beloved

in parts: / now & then my mother must mother her mother / wrap in a blanket, slip into her mouth / pills:

an ordeal of bitter water / to remind her body of its own existence: / עורי עורי שיר דברי / the sounds of

so many infrasonic hearts in chorus / ghost so bright—// Through the curtain / I make him listen.



Yael Massen measures distance away from home by the length of her hair. A year ago, she grew out her bangs before graduating from SUNY Geneseo. In the Midwest, her curls are spiraled and deceiving: she’s been away from New York and Israel longer than she can see in the mirror.