On a roof in the Old City

Laundry hanging in the late afternoon sunlight:

the white sheet of a woman who is my enemy,

the towel of a man who is my enemy,

to wipe off the sweat of his brow.

In the sky of the Old City

a kite.

At the other end of the string,

a child

I can’t see

because of the wall.

We have put up many flags,

they have put up many flags.

To make us think that they’re happy.

To make them think that we’re happy.


–Yehuda Amichai, translated by Stephen Mitchell