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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


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.


Image by Bree Anne
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