Don’t Belong Here / To Fly by Tali Cohen Shabtai

I know I’m not supposed

to be

in this place presently,

not in this place and not in this time.

It is not arbitrary temporary

or inadvertently

that it is so

because the God who pulls the strings

into the hands of the doll that I am,

knows about this pulling –

therefore it is –

linguistically derived from a verb

made by Him

in one static situation that traps the three conjugations of time

in the Hebrew my mother taught me.

Because this is


I wish only for one verb with

one preposition that always promotes it

the “to”

always from the same given situation,

it is called

“to fly.”

May 17, 2022

Tali Cohen Shabtai, born in Jerusalem, Israel, is a highly-esteemed international poet with works translated into many languages.

She has authored three bilingual volumes of poetry, “Purple Diluted in a Black’s Thick”(2007), “Protest” (2012) and “Nine Years From You”(2018). A fourth volume is forthcoming in 2022. 

Tali began writing poetry at the age of six. She lived for many years in Oslo, Norway, and the U.S.A. and her poems express both the spiritual and physical freedom paradox of exile. Her cosmopolitan vision is obvious in her writings.

Tali is known in her country as a prominent poet with a unique narrative. As one commentator wrote: “She doesn’t give herself easily, but is subject to her own rules.”

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