What it is to be a dybbuk who has travelled from Somerville to Brighton, by E. Lev Arbeter

The opposite of a body, but in a body. In where blood is, and marrow,
and everything around and in between. To live without living in between

fingernails and flesh. To operate a body towards want, and only want.
The opposite of breath and metal, all lack, and navigating above concrete

in a body walking across the concrete, past the shul that beckons, kadimah,
kadimah, but no, you must go onward, the arch wrought above its gates saying

KADIMAH and the Magen David atop the arch’s lamp sings, begging you
towards maariv, but to this body you must cleave. And your task commands

you elsewhere. Past the monastery now becoming luxury apartments
(this body no luxury, no home, no), and past the hospital named for a saint

neither you nor this body believe in. To find the body without thinking
tucking a strand of its own hair behind its own ear
(a strand of dead cells less dead than you are).

Nearby on Malbert Rd, there is a dilapidated Victorian mansion.
And to it you must go. You must. To have walked this body six miles.

To have walked this body alongside and over the River Charles.
To miss the feeling of water. Even if this body were to drop its hands

into the currents. Even if this body were to plunge, to bob
from scalp to soles. To not feel it. To not inhabit the body,

not truly, no, no, only and only the spaces around and
in between (to exist always and only in the in between
of this body and your body, with this body your body).

E. Lev Arbeter exists. They are a queer science fabulist, the winner of Redivider’s 2019 Blurred Genre Contest, and the recipient of a 2021 Somerville Arts Council Literature Artist Fellowship. Originally from Skokie, IL, Lev currently lives. Find them online at www.elanalevfriedland.com.

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