“Return” by Yakov Azriel

Return the bathing trunks you took from me.
Return the new Hawaiian shirt you took
from me.  Return the photographs and book
of poems I gave you when I thought  that we
were friends and more than friends.  Return the sea.
Return the boat we built when typhoons shook
the sea.  Return the way you used to look
at me.  Return our dock.  Return our quay.

Return the anchor that you took, return
the rudder that you took.  Return the keel
and hull.  Return the crow’s nest on the mast.
Return the man you used to be and spurn
the man you are.  Return the steering wheel
we shared together once.  Return the past.


Yakov Azriel was born in New York and came to live in Israel at the age of 21.  He has published five full-length books of poetry in the US, the latest being Closet Sonnets: The Life of G.S. Crown (1950-2021), which was published by Sheep Meadow Press in November 2017.  Over 300 of his poems have been published in journals and magazines in the US, the UK, Israel and online.  In addition, his poems have won twenty-four prizes in international poetry competitions. Only very recently has he emerged from his closet.