By Jacob Glatstein
Translated from the Yiddish by Peter Manseau
My friend lives a satisfied life.
He has a wife who loves him,
three blond children,
a winter house, a summer home,
money tucked away for times of need,
and ready aphorisms about the certainty
of easy living for decades to come.
And I am devoured by jealousy day in, day out.
My only certainty is a paper bridge over the years,
my lonely life leads me always to a pit of doom.
Often when I’ve had a bit to drink,
I drunkenly seduce my friend’s woman,
becoming a father to their children,
surrounding myself with stolen love and warmth.
And when I sober up, still in my friend’s bed,
I kiss my friend’s wife with savage passion,
kisses full of envy and vengeance.
Jacob Glatstein (1896-1971) was a Polish-born poet and literary critic who wrote in Yiddish.
Photos: Jessica Levey, Jerusalem, 2011.