Yael Herzog

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This week, we are thrilled to share Yael Herzog’s poem “August, Tel Aviv.” Yael’s poetry is searing in its imagery. She is deliberate and precise in her choice of words, while resisting excess and sentimentality. You can find another poem by Yael, “Immigrant,” in our first issue. 

Yael Herzog is a graduate of the Shaindy Rudoff Graduate Program in Creative Writing at Bar Ilan University, and received the Andrea Moriah Poetry Prize in May, 2017. Her work has previously been published in Eclectica Magazine, Aurora Poetry, The Ekphrastic Review, and was nominated for the Sundress Publications 2019 Best of the Net Anthology. She grew up in New Jersey and now lives in Tel Aviv, Israel, where she is an English teacher, artist, and poet.

August, Tel Aviv

 – Yael Herzog

Basil on the windowsill limps 

And furrows in the teasing breeze. 

Eucalyptus leaves curling and dry,  

Spread their scent across the table 


Cloth like an offering, shouts from 

Men in the distance. This summer is long

And hungry, and the tide is always edging

Closer, forward. Sweat grows like mold 


On every pore, four 

Stalks of grey sage

Stand tall and already dead.

The floor is not swept, the sun


Keeps pushing its body whole

Into my home, an unwelcome guest.

What do I own? The windows open,

The day unmine. 


Coffee, lukewarm and settled, waits 

For my untouched lips, listless, still.

The truck’s restless moan

Eats my morning like a worm


Through soft wood. The sky

Undressed from its night

Reveals itself in small, geometric shapes

Between buildings. In the window across


Behind half-closed shades 

A man walks then bends 

Quick to lift — a blanket? A single 

Shoe thrown behind the sofa?— 


And disappears. The day is white 

And unannouncing, an ocean 

Of loud sounds, waking then breaking 

Onto the city streets. A lover sleeps


Spread like a starfish at the edge

Of this town—dreaming a childish 

Dream, breathing a childish breath—sour and 

New, sex a wave of hard then


Soft, then hard again—my only homing.