October 16, 2014 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION




Ilona Martonfi




Man in a long black coat:

a “man of the people.”


Executed president and first lady:

Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu


in Romania’s Târgoviste garrison,

when charged with genocide

December 1989

blurred television pictures.

“Why are you doing this?”


Leafless walnut trees


grant them their last wish:

“Shoot us together.”


“Don’t tie us up! Don’t!”


“It’s a lie, that I made them starve.”


In the western county Arad,

Bihor Mountains foothills

where grandfather Ludwig Hass lived

by the River Somes

riots on Timisoara streets,


steep shingled roof

blue-painted timber


mother’s childhood house.


What music was played?


Wild boar hunting,


predator crows in stone pines.

Red star cut out of flags.

Revolutia Româna.


Man in a long black coat:

a “man of the people.”











Upstairs, you went upstairs.

The house was quiet. It was so quiet.

Anyuka, mother, lying unfound

beside the broken chimney.

On the flat part of the factory hangar roof.

Not a sound. It was so quiet.

The sun had gone down. Tall poplars.

Anyuka wore a short-sleeved summer dress.

The dress puckered at the sleeves.

Tucked at the waist. Narrow belt. Sturdy shoes.

So quiet upstairs. No sunlight.

The linden tree. Grandmother’s wash line.

Willow catkins, forsythia in bomb craters.

Downstairs, black iron stove,

red, green, and purple Easter eggs.

Chocolate rabbit in cellophane.



Your mother’s attempted suicide:


Easter Sunday, April 13, 1952

anyuka took sleeping pills.






Ilona Martonfi

Ilona Martonfi Author of two poetry books, Blue Poppy, (Coracle Press, 2009.) Black Grass, (Broken Rules Press, 2012). Published in chapbooks, anthologies and magazines. Among them, Vallum, Tuck, Accenti, The Fiddlehead, Serai. Founder/producer of The Yellow Door and Visual Arts Centre Readings, co-founder of Lovers and Others. QWF 2010 Community Award.


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