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Tzabar

צבר

Sunlight bent and twisted in the sweltering heat above the desert city street. A cadence of voices coursed through the Bedouin market, punctuated by buses, cars and mopeds. An American man stopped in front of a small falafel stand. He looked at the man behind the counter, and to the walls inside; scripts, numbers, and certificates filled the empty spaces. The American gestured, pointing incomprehensibly, his words fumbling as he looked through the short glass partitions. He kept one hand low in front of his waist, holding a single red rose.

“Lo, bakbouka.” The man behind the stand corrected. He may have been a Bedouin, Arab, or Jew; the American had no way of knowing for sure. The man hoped that the American had some idea of what he wanted to eat. The American mumbled something in English and then something in what may have been Hebrew. Holding a stainless steel spoon, the man shook his head again, and a bubbling stream of Hebrew followed.  After seeing the blank look on the Ameri…

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Heavy tattered curtains smothered the living room window; a heavy gust slammed the screen door against the mountain cabin. Hiding from the lightning, a small boy huddled in the corner, wondering when the daylight would be taken by the storm. I'm not afraid of the lightning, he tried.He closed his eyes at the thunder and then faded into nothingness as his page was thrown away. 
A black, cold iron wood stove stood isolated in its corner; a small ash bucket and a spilled wood cradle spotted the bare wooden floor. A young man watched from his stool, peering between the curtains with a rifle in his hand. What will run here from the storm, he wondered.  He slid a round into the rifle's chamber, turned, and then closed the bolt.  As he waited for what was to come, lightning tore through the mountain top, sundering soul from body—a page torn in half; the clouds crumpled, and then he was gone.

A few framed oil paintings, among a dozen unfinished, hung on the cabin's only inte…

Be'er Sheva Burning

Be'er Sheva Burning
e.s. kohen

cmp.2009.01.07
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No, a two room apartment does not mean a two bedroom apartment. What it really means is an itty-bitty living room—dining room—kitchen—bathroom crammed right up next to a small bedroom that has no door. It means incredibly hot autumn days and freezing cold nights. It means paper towels taped over a hole in the front window that had all of the insulation necessary to keep small rabid kittens from crawling in at night.

It couldn’t have been midnight as I laid on my bed, watching my laptop screen light up half of the city of Be’er Sheva, somewhere in the Negev desert in Israel. It would shut itself off eventually, but of course that magic moment of blissful darkness wouldn’t happen until I was half frustrated out of my mind.

The shutters covering my bedroom window were tightly shut for fear of things that go bump in the night. But don’t get me wrong, even if my neighbors didn't occasionally launch random rodent-wanna-b…