When I have a stomachache

by Yehuda Amichai

When I have a stomachache, I feel like
the whole round globe.
When I have a headache, laughter
bursts out in the wrong place in my body.
And when I cry, they’re putting my father in the ground
in a grave that’s too big for him, and he won’t
grow to fit it.
And if I’m a hedgehog, I’m a hedgehog in reverse,
the spikes grow inward and stab.
And if I’m the prophet Ezekiel, I see
in the Vision of the Chariot
only the dung-spattered feet of oxen and the muddy wheels.

I’m like a porter carrying a heavy armchair
on his back to some faraway place
without knowing he can put it down and sit in it.

I’m like a rifle that’s a little out of date
but very accurate: when I love,
there’s a strong recoil, back to childhood, and it hurts.

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