OUR CATEGORY : Ilona Martonfi


A broken porcelain doll on a mass grave. Small hands, which held the doll. My granddaughter Zahra — Exhumed her name on the casket. Remember how we got lost on Majevica Mountain? Where wild blueberries grow. When I dream, you are always there: White tombstone under a plum tree. As I am fleeing Kalesija, by […]

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 […]

Father’s Wake

Yesterday, we buried apa, my father. Today, I sit with people I do not know. Attend a Mother’s Day brunch at the Hungarian Church hall. Courtland township beside Lake Erie. Muddy, unpaved roads: listening to the cimbalom. The zither. Only yesterday we were singing a requiem to him. “Your father bought the tickets,” mother says. […]

La Zagara

Sandstone and shale, bare rock. La zagara, orange blossom flowers. Eucalyptus, hibiscus, green wooden shutters. Your sister’s third-floor condo: Knotted kilim rugs, shiny marble floors. A silver candelabra is lighted. Shuffling gait: Parkinson’s hand tremor. Nonna Guiseppa’s voice, a soft, hoarse rasp: in her confusion, she sees her long-dead infant daughter. Maroon crocheted shawl over […]