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in the beginning…

…barukh smiled much more
his eyes sparkled meekly
and sort of
he was generally more awed
by living in israel

by being blessed
to be able to live in israel

all native israelis
could see right away
that he was a tourist

or a new immigrant

his steps were light
watchful
cautious

if he accidentally bumped into somebody
in the supermarket
on the street
or in the heder ohel
on the kibbutz
he apologized
instantly
and promptly
hopped away

barukh
was a hundred and ninety five
centimeters tall
and more than a hundred kilos
just saying

then the day came
that changed barukh’s life
forever

in his first job
he worked
in eilat

installing
luxury doors
for a luxury apartment complex
with a sea view

on that particular day
that changed barukh’s life forever
a large truckload of doors
and door frames arrived
that had to be moved
to the fifth floor
of one of the buildings

barukh’s boss figured
that instead of stumbling
with the doors and door frames
on the stairs
inside the building
it would be best
to lift them
from outside the building
with a crane

he
as in barukh’s boss
and the crane operator
would stack the doors and door frames
on the crane
on the ground
and barukh up on the fifth floor
would stand on the edge of the balcony
and unpack the load
from the crane

or in point of fact
he would unload
the five doors
belonging to the given apartment
thirty kilos per item
then he would unload
the fifteen door frame members
belonging to the given apartment
ten kilos per item

then

he would climb over
to the balcony
of the neighbouring apartment
outside on the facade of the building
and unload
another
five doors
and fifteen door frame members

then

he would climb over
to the balcony of the third apartment
and after unloading
doors and door frames there as well
he would be finished

it was the plan

classic
careful
risk-avoiding
israeli
plan

barukh went up on the fifth floor
stood on the balcony
and waited for the first load

from the school next building
he could hear
the boisterous noise of kids playing

the fifty-degrees-hot wind
blowing from the arabian peninsula
was tugging at his t-shirt

barukh watched the rising crane
and felt a pleasant thrill

up until the moment
when the first load reached his height
and he realized
that the crane could not lift
the doors and door frames
up to the balcony

because the reach of the crane
was not long enough
and could bring the load
only as close to barukh
as the floor level of the balcony

so barukh
would have to lean out of the balcony
reach down and upheave
all doors and door frames
inside the balcony
above the five-storey abyss

so that
as he leans out the balcony
and lifts those
ten slash thirty-kilo pieces
his body’s centre of gravity
would need to remain
inside the balcony

failing that
he would be plummeting down
together with the doors and door frames

barukh leaned over the railing
down to the crane
and tried to lift
the first door

it hardly moved

barukh glanced down the street
where his boss
and the crane operator
waited impatiently
ready to send the second load
for the second apartment

time is money
and the crane has a high hourly rate

barukh stood up
staggered back
leant against the balcony wall
and pulled his phone from his pocket

he called his boss
to tell him
that it wasn’t going to work
because

he was scared to death

because
either he will drop a door
on a passerby’s head
or he himself was going to fall down

or both

but
all his boss said was
don’t worry
you can do it

en brera

barukh stood
leaning his back
against the wall
and watched the doors and door frames
waiting for him on the crane

he knew
that if his boss had to come up
to unload the package
then he
as in barukh
would have no job
the day after

he knew
there was nobody else
who could unload the package

barukh needed
this job

so he thought of en brera
who in israeli folklore
always came to the rescue of the hero
in these situations

and miracle of miracles
simply by thinking of her
he conjured en brera
and en brera came
with the hot arabian wind
and rescued the hero

en brera
is a hebrew idiom
israeli lifestyle
it means
there is

no choice

he doesn’t know how
to this day
but barukh unloaded
the doors
and door frames
on the balcony
of the first apartment

then

overcoming his fear of heights
at five-storey-high altitude
he climbed over
to the balcony
of the second apartment
and unloaded
all the doors
and door frames
there as well

then

climbed over
on to the balcony of the third apartment
and did all that there too

and while
he climbed and unloaded
and climbed and unloaded
his tears were flowing freely
not from sadness
or fear
but because of the adrenaline
that tried to find a way out

barukh felt
like a soldier
that became a hero
not due to personal courage
or aptitude
but because en brera
pushed him to it

all his muscles tensed
and his senses heightened
his mind became blank
he could focus only on two things

accomplish the mission
and stay alive

accomplish
the
mission
and
stay
alive

when on the balcony
of the third apartment
he finally took
the last door off the crane
and leant it against the wall
he slowly stood up straight

for the first time for hours

for the first time for years

as he stepped
to the edge of the balcony
to wave a signal
to his boss and the crane operator
that the crane could leave
they were finished
he realized something odd

while he was working
the gravitational pull of the earth
has grown
his steps became heavier
his boots gripped the ground
like never before

he didn’t smile
his eyes didn’t sparkle
and he didn’t feel awed any more

he looked down
on the street
the roofs of the city
the sea
his nostrils flared
as he smelled
the fifty-degree-hot wind
and he felt
that from now on
he belonged to this land
and this land
from now on
belonged to him

from now on
this was his country too

because up
on the fifth floor
he dig out
his and his family’s place
in israel

About the Author
a wandering aramean poet / born in hungary / living in israel / longing for a home / and peace / outside and inside // he writes about his new life / and his old one / his adhd and asd / his adonayush / and war and coexistence / in israel / in the middle east / and in the world // hundreds of his poems are available in hungarian / and in a weekly increasing number also in english // “self-appointed poet” (“önjelölt költő”) / his first book of poems / was published in budapest in 2021 / "twelve points of barukh" ("barukh tizenkét pontja") his second book was published in 2022 // he lives in the kurdish suburbs of jerusalem / with his wife and two sons
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