Ester Karen Aida

Hoarfrost Shining in Leaves of Grass

Utagawa Hiroshige, "Snow Falling on Town" 1840, woodcut. (Philadelphia Museum of Art)
Utagawa Hiroshige, "Snow Falling on Town" 1840, woodcut. (Philadelphia Museum of Art)

Jerusalem’s Gay Pride and Tolerance March, at a Distance


What words are there for this,

the mute persistence of snow

as it settles over the city,

falling now on a road outside my window,

a spider’s trace from the beauteous

Acre coast, to a house of state

in Nazareth, even to glisten upon

gray heads in the Bell Garden.

I pour tea into a china cup

and watch the last few cars head home,

their deep-throated complaints

as they race at the gradient.

There was of course Great-aunt Hattie,

her Commie friends.  The tiny apartment

overlooking the Statue of Liberty

of a Saturday, after my mother’s

matchy set of siblings, that raucous tribe

a kind of aeonic music.  

Shelves of Agatha Christie,

doll’s mayonnaise jar.


The neighbor’s white Skoda, or perhaps

the son not seen

these months, makes it half-way

before gravity kicks in, and he slides back

to where he started from.

Once, on the evening news, shanties

were burning in Nyanga and Gugulethu.

Many are dying in the last throes

of a barbarous State, but here,

snow falls like apple blossom

in the glare of a single street-light.

What words are there for this.


— after James Caruth ( Derek Mahon)

“Snowfall, 1986,”  featured in Issue 59 of TIH


Jerusalem, 20th of Av, 5778

2 August, 2018

About the Author
Ester Karen Aida received the gift of a heart transplant at Hadassah - Ein Karem from a Palestinian mom in 2009. She has arranged dialogue meetings for the Dati-Leumi sector in coordination with NVC - Bethlehem. A mother of six, she lives in Jerusalem. More poems -- a meditative practice -- on FB.