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SZAR AZ ÉLET

by ágnes cserháti


on my desk this field of Lily of the Valley

where we’d always find you

as I do now

mother of Álmos (daughter)


the turul black like type and

táltos saying it was a dream


serifs like

dew clinging to the rim

of each white

bell shaped head


delicate and many

sounding like May though

I couldn’t say your name

so I gave you a name I could say


that everyone said the same way

and that’s what you became


szar az élet

though that wasn’t

the name I gave you

nothing like it


because what tore from your

mouth was much more than a life that

maybe wasn’t shit

all that long ago but


you’d forgotten and

could only guess your laughter


not knowing where

to put it


maybe in the espresso

gurgling on the stove


black so black it

seemed laughable

because your laugh was

radiant like a blade in Lake Balaton


not heavy and yellow

like the loaf and margarine

that made you sick but

was the only food you’d eat

till the end

(why?)


an ink I won’t print just now

because there’s more to say before

there’d be a point to

bleed you yellow


for saying there was no room

for me to stay with you—look


how you rowed the Danube

not a blister on

your hands only

the ones that


hardened your heart to

anyone who thought being

crucified meant to end their

suffering but not yours


even though he gave you

the crucifix he’d carved from


wood like he carved you

out of his heart (blood)


that you gave me (love)

that’s fixed above my bed


in a field of Lily of the Valley where

death isn’t shit where

I won’t let this

story end

where maybe

it won’t have to for much longer

 

Ágnes Cserháti’s poetry has won the Hart House Poetry Prize (University of Toronto) twice and has been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize and the Gwendolyn MacEwen Poetry Competition. Her writing has been published in Hart House Review, and online with Dodging the Rain, CatheXis Northwest Press, and The Esthetic Apostle. Her first chapbook, unremembered, was published with Frog Hollow Press in 2019. She is currently associate editor for the Alcuin Society's book arts journal, Amphora.



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Image by Bree Anne
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