Translated from the Swedish by Rika Lesser
"Snow: the old Jewish cemetery . . ."
Snow: the old Jewish cemetery
in Prague: the stone city of the future snow-white under brilliant
black cloudsthe penal city.Graves with hands of stone.Rabbi
Löw, creator of the Golem, rests his own shriveled body under
a palace burdened by letters ornate and suffocating: his sentence.
It's the hands in the stone that have power.
The world is molded, kneaded from the clay of the great
Broken Vessels. From this plastic mass Time kneads and shapes a
new face, kneads and figures forth the face of light and of darkness,
the new creation: A black body of dust, constricted motion that
is invisible light. A raw face, a mouth that seeks.Lay stones
on the graves, not earth.Slowly the stone will return to black
dust, the dust kneaded again into manikin. Rabbi Löw conjures
the torpid doll to life. The creature walks the streets, overturning
or building things up, founds cities, destroys them. The earth bathes
in death. Jerusalem's streets are desolate, dogs whine beside mutilated
bodies. Eternal return.Rabbi Löw's hands live in the
stone. Which floats in dawn's limpid liquid air. Snowmelt drops
from the gravestones. Hovering, the stone hands are forming. With
careful hands forming this letter: the first and the last.