Michal Mahgerefteh

Michal Mahgerefteh

Michal Mahgerefteh is an award-winning poet and artist from Israel, living in Virginia since 1986.

She is editor of Poetica Magazine, Contemporary Jewish Writing and Art. Michal’s first poetry collection, In My Bustan, was released in 2009. Currently Michal is working on a new poetry collection, Sipping Memories, A Poetic Journal to Morocco, to be released Fall 2011.

Please visit Michal Mahgerefteh’s website: http://www.michal-mahgerefteh.com


Quite serene will be my life
to sit upon the rocks and watch
the shepherds and their flock,

fig leaf brought me down from
Eden to powder my cheeks and
curl my hair with coral clasps.

Light so low upon the earth
befriends my tent with vines and
mist of a thousand fragrant worth.

Amidst eucalyptus and cedar,
rush of foaming waters in the
blue-mosaic bath, as modesty

befits my soul, Lilith recites pure
three times then spreads her light
on herbs, fruits, cloths and songs.

Enwrapped in threads of silk, I lie
in a bed of petals and as embers enter
my skin, walls draw breath and blush

while angels spread dvash on my
dreamy lips softly whispering,
heart to heart … love to love.

In My Bustan, 2009


she lies on
a single bed.

Not a waking ray
or a soothing song
is permitted.

She smiled
throwing her bony arms
to hold me close.

I caressed
her hands and cheeks
with hope.

But the letters
on her chart
brandished thorns.

For her
the shechinah
is visible,

descending pollen
in the wilderness.

In My Bustan, 2009

Es Saadi Restaurant

thirty degrees in Marakesh
planks of wood everywhere
sirens sounding fading into the distanced winter night

under the awning
a male-host welcomes with profuse apologies
bashfully smiles as he leads our group
through marble archways
antique hanging carpets
tables in red-yellow-orange covering
a small gift shop in the far end corner

male waiters
in white gold-trimmed caftans
speaking in a heady mixture
of French-Moroccan-Arabic
swaying to foreign music
as they serve steaming platters of yellow couscous
topped with carrots chicken in chickpeas sauce
lamb in a thick prune gravy

we roll bites with our bare hands
savor the flavored spirit of my ancestors
in their homeland
Bon Appetite Madam! Bon Appetite Monsieur!

Sipping Memories, A Poetic Journal to Morocco, to be released Fall 2011

The Sheep Market

all day the weather uncertain
sunshine alternates laden clouds
darken the sheep market
bustles with moving-milling flocks
bleating-baaing curly-twisted long horns
staked to the ground
crowding trucks and wooden carts
bargains made money exchanged
final sales honored
with a quick-respectful shake

life hangs heavy
over the women inside fabric tents
between large bags of raw wool
brought steaming after shearing
sorting colors into two piles with hands
thick as raw leather
letting it fluff-dry before the endless spinning-weaving
tufts of fiber burrs-clods
stick to their swollen feet
‘til no echo is left to bellow into sunset

Sipping Memories, A Poetic Journal to Morocco, to be released Fall 2011


Poetry in this post: © Michal Mahgerefteh
Published with the permission of Michal Mahgerefteh