What did the buttercups see?

Grammar school
pockmarked with shrapnel holes
the year is 1953.
Meadow, blue plum, and yellow poplar.
Bomb craters filled with rubble,
grandmother’s kitchen in Halle 7
short white cotton curtains.
Roofless hallway,
the Neutraubling refugee settlement,
by the Danube River.
Bavarian Woods foothills ridge.
Wheat fields. Wild sorrel.
From your second-floor window
Magda’s daughter, the bedbugs,
straw mattress.

Schoolhouse re-bricked.
Lime wash walls
the old airport had sung KZ Lieder.
Prisoners working in Luftwaffe factories.

Purple iris. Green frogs in a pond.

Pigtailed Magyar girl of eleven.

Black and white photograph:

your last year’s teacher
molesting you —
walks back to his fourth grade class
to teach arithmetic. Geography.

~ Ilona Martonfi

Ilona Martonfi is author of two poetry books, Blue Poppy, Coracle Press, 2009, and Black Grass, Broken Rules Press, 2012. She is also an editor and creative writing teacher. She published in numerous magazines including, Descant, Vallum, Accenti, The Fiddlehead, Serai. She is founder/producer of the Montreal Yellow Door and Visual Arts Cnetre Readings and co-founder of Lovers and Others. She received the QWF 2010 Community Award.

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