In Translation: I Want An Electric Juicer // אני רוצה מסחטה חשמלית

Photo: © S.V. Bertrand. All rights reserved.

Maya Tevet Dayan, an Israeli-Canadian poet and writer, is the recipient of the Israeli Prime Minister award for literature, and an honorable mention for the Kugel Poetry Prize. This poem by Maya Tevet Dayan is translated from the Hebrew by Jane Medved. The original follows the English translation.

I Want An Electric Juicer

Why electric? What’s wrong with the real kind?
my dead grandmother asks. All of our lives
we squeezed oranges by hand.

Why should she work so hard if there’s an easier way?
That’s my mother, from her life in the beyond.

You two are always looking to spend money,
my grandmother grumbles. An entire life and death,
and she’s still lecturing us.

Buy yourself one and I’ll pay for it, my mother ends the discussion,
as if she still has a bank account,
as if I am not paying from my pocket
for all the gifts she has bought me, since her death.

I’ll buy it for you, Bubbaleh,
my grandmother concedes, lifting
the burden, as usual, from my mother.

After all, she has left us a goodly amount
from all the taxis she never rode,
the leftover food she refused to throw away,
the tea bag she dipped into the same cup until it fainted,
the socks she darned. What will I leave behind,

except for tormented conversations with the dead?
What will I manage to put aside from all the coins
accumulated on my behalf, through endless hours of labor,
human lives, hardworking generations. I don’t even like

oranges. But you need vitamin C for your health, my dead
grandmother interjects. See, we are starting up again.

אני רוצה מסחטה חשמלית

לָמָּה חַשְׁמַלִּית? מָה הַבְּעָיָה עִם רְגִילָה?
סָבְתָא שֶׁלִּי הַמֵּתָה שׁוֹאֶלֶת, כָּל הַחַיִּים
סָחַטְנוּ תַּפּוּזִים בַּיָּדַיִם.

לָמָּה שֶׁהִיא תַּעֲבֹד קָשֶׁה אִם אֶפְשָׁר לְהָקֵל?
זֹאת אִמָּא שֶׁלִּי, מֵעוֹלַם הַמֵּתִים שֶׁלָּהּ.

אַתֶּן רַק מְחַפְּשׂוֹת עַל מָה לְהוֹצִיא כֶּסֶף, רוֹטֶנֶת
סָבָתִי. חַיִּים שְׁלֵמִים
וּמָוֶת שָׁלֵם וַעֲדַיִן מְחַנֶּכֶת אוֹתָנוּ.

תִּקְנִי לָךְ וַאֲנִי אֲשַׁלֵּם, אִמָּא שֶׁלִּי מְסַיֶּמֶת אֶת הַדִּיּוּן.
כְּאִלּוּ יֵשׁ לָהּ עֲדַיִן חֶשְׁבּוֹן בַּנְק.
כְּאִלּוּ אֲנִי לֹא מְשַׁלֶּמֶת מִכִּיסִי
עַל כָּל הַמַּתָּנוֹת שֶׁהִיא קוֹנָה לִי מֵאָז שֶׁמֵּתָה.

אֲנִי אֶקְנֶה לָךְ, בֻּבָּה׳לֶה,
סָבְתָא שֶׁלִּי מִתְרַצָּה. כְּהֶרְגֵּלָהּ,
מְסִירָה מֵעַל אִמִּי אֶת הָעֹל.

בְּסַךְ הַכֹּל הוֹרִישָׁה לָנוּ סְכוּם יָפֶה
מִכָּל הַמּוֹנִיּוֹת שֶׁלֹּא לָקְחָה, שְׁאֵרִיּוֹת הָאֹכֶל שֶׁסֵּרְבָה לְהַשְׁלִיךְ לַפַּח,
הַתֵּיוֹן שֶׁטָּבְלָה בְּאוֹתָהּ כּוֹס תֵּה עַד שֶׁדָּהָה, הַגַּרְבַּיִם
שֶׁהִטְלִיאָה, מָה יִשָּׁאֵר אַחֲרַי

פְּרָט לְשִׂיחוֹת מְיַסְּרוֹת עִם הַמֵּתִים?
מָה אַצְלִיחַ לְהַשְׁאִיר מִכָּל הַשְּׁקָלִים שֶׁנִּצְבְּרוּ
עֲבוּרִי בְּאֵינְסוֹף שְׁעוֹת עֲבוֹדָה, חַיֵּי אָדָם,
דּוֹרוֹת עֲמֵלִים, אֲנִי אֲפִלּוּ לֹא אוֹהֶבֶת

תַּפּוּזִים. אֲבָל אַתְּ חַיֶּבֶת וִיטָמִין סִי לַבְּרִיאוּת שֶׁלָּךְ, שׁוּב
סָבְתָא שֶׁלִּי הַמֵּתָה. הִנֵּה אֲנַחְנוּ מַתְחִילוֹת מֵחָדָשׁ.

About the Author

MAYA TEVET DAYAN is the author of a novel (One Thousand Years To Wait – 2011) and two books of poetry: Let There Be Evening. Let There Be Chaos (2015) and Wherever We Float, That’s Home (2018). She is the recipient of the Israeli Prime Minister award for literature for 2018 and an honorable mention from the Kugel Poetry Prize for 2016. English translations of her poems have appeared in Rattle, Copper Nickel, Hayden’s Ferry, Asymptote, and The New Quarterly. She holds a PhD in Indian Philosophy and Literature and her translations of Sanskrit Poetry have appeared in various venues in Israel, the US and India.

About the Translator

Jane Medved is the author of Deep Calls To Deep (winner of the Many Voices Project, New Rivers Press 2017) and the chapbook Olam, Shana, Nefesh (Finishing Line Press, 2014). Recent essays and poems have appeared in Guesthouse, Juked, Gulf Coast On-Line, Queen Mob’s Teahouse, and The Tampa Review. She is the poetry editor of the Ilanot Review, and a frequent teacher for WriteSpace, Jerusalem, as well as a visiting lecturer in the Graduate Creative Writing Program at Bar Ilan University.


Appears In

Issue 9

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