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Contributor's Notes

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Note: Shir Shirim – Song of Songs by Solomon

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Zaretsky Natalia Zaretsky


From When We Are Happy

(II) What Is Happiness?


Happiness is a suspended condition to be lived holding your breath.
                                  —Italo Calvino

It tints the air within the green of spring
and translates the world into words,
soft like grass under your feet,
slender like a poplar grove,
with trees that cut sunlight into shadows,
sweet like your smile from the taste of his lips
that your lips remember.

Happiness does not sound
like a siren, or a car’s skid,
or a mosquito’s buzz,
but is the quiet squeak of an open door
with him against the moonlight,
or splashes on the lake, hidden in the woods,
or your laughter, reflected from its surface.

After a transient while, it leaves a song,
eternal like Shir Shirim, graceful
like David’s Harp, with the sweet-tart taste
of yester-happiness.