Tourists by Yehuda Amichai


by Yehuda Amichai

Visits of condolence is all we get from them.They squat at the Holocaust Memorial,They put on grave faces at the Wailing WallAnd they laugh behind heavy curtainsIn their hotels.They have their pictures takenTogether with our famous deadAt Rachel’s Tomb and Herzl’s TombAnd on Ammunition Hill.They weep over our sweet boysAnd lust after our tough girlsAnd hang up their underwearTo dry quicklyIn cool, blue bathrooms.Once I sat on the steps by agate at David’s Tower,I placed my two heavy baskets at my side. A group of touristswas standing around their guide and I became their target marker. “You seethat man with the baskets? Just right of his head there’s an archfrom the Roman period. Just right of his head.” “But he’s moving, he’s moving!”I said to myself: redemption will come only if their guide tells them,“You see that arch from the Roman period? It’s not important: but next to it,left and down a bit, there sits a man who’s bought fruit and vegetables for his family.

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