Although Sharron Hass has warned that rationality is the enemy of generosity

sex four times in one week ÷ our public argument at dinner =
sex twice X  the I want to see you text one workday at noon.

My four birthday presents for your four kids  ÷ (your telling me when your mother’s birthday was by telling me you’d bought flowers for her +
you did so only because I asked you what you did that day) > (your mother phoning me on my birthday to tell me that her gift to me would be a new pair of sunglasses – your dislike of my current pair of sunglasses).

My paying your daughter for an hour of “language lessons” each week to bond with her = your tutoring my daughter in the new math[1]

You are the perfect size for me  – (although some may consider you too short
X getting the color of my eyes wrong when saying what you love about my face) < this is the love of my life in your love letter to me.

you don’t look fat, you just look like you don’t care how you look in that bikini
< the butter you spread on the bread you toast for me and the jam your mother made, the coffee you made for me, although you had previously showed me how to use the coffee machine myself.

Your driving and supplying the biking supplies = my cooking and packing the picnic lunches – the trails being too far above my skill level.

The flowers you bought me  – I had to ask you to do it  – I don’t like white chrysanthemums that have been dyed blue  < the massage you gave me – (I had given you one first + I had to ask).

My rage and fury – my ability to say I’m sorry > your buying grapes from the store in the middle of the grape harvest in my orchard and vineyard.

My unexpressed rage at your chatting with the landlord of the air bnb for an hour on my “birthday getaway weekend” last year (/trip with your kids since it was also your visitation weekend) while I waited for you to drive us to the Sea of Galilee ≠ your rage at my feeling, but not expressing, rage.

But someone has to keep track, so even though I keep forgetting it happened, you keep bringing it up, and then I keep remembering that you are wrong.

Extra credit for it having been the Sea of Galilee, and when you thought I was drowning in it, you began to swim out to me, with my daughter’s pink float (which I’d blown up), though I’d swum out into the middle of the lake under those treacherous wind conditions in the first place just to get away from you.


[1] The way they teach math in school is never the way the parents learned it.

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MARCELA SULAK is the author of the lyric memoir Mouth Full of Seeds; her third poetry collection, City of Sky Papers is forthcoming with Black Lawrence Press, where she’s previously published Decency and Immigrant. She’s co-edited Family Resemblance: An Anthology and Exploration of 8 Hybrid Literary Genres. A 2019 NEA Translation Fellow, her fourth translation, Twenty Girls to Envy Me. Selected Poems of Orit Gidali was nominated for a 2017 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation. She hosts the podcast “Israel in Translation,” edits The Ilanot Review, and is Associate Professor of English Literature and Linguistics at Bar-Ilan University.

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