December 3, 2014 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION




Ilona Martonfi




The firestorm



Distant, unearthly,

church bells rang out.

Baroque and rococo.


At the edge of the Altstadt —Old Town

it didn’t snow that night.

Yellow trams.


Asphalt on the streets,

apple trees burning at night,


watching from across the Elbe River:

crimson and violet sky.

Inside the Dresden Frauenkirche

crypts used as air raid shelters,


next to the railway station

in that one big fire

on Shrove Tuesday, 1945,

the circus played to a full house

when the bombers came


dropped phosphorous.

Glowing orange and blue,

burnt to cinders


the nameless ones.

Of the children, what should I say?

Dazed and exhausted.


Getting up and falling, falling.







The last pruning of rose bushes



And to tell her story

she asked for

this other place,

this place of strangers

women’s shelter

plum-slate night sky

October asters,

shadows of apple trees


she left, she tells us

ceramic floors, muddied, and releasing smell of vinegar

a walled garden, roses tied with burlap

solarium towering over it,

oak farm table with six unmatched chairs


the laughter of children


she continued simply to walk

dark, streetlights, again dark

she has the impression, she is still fleeing on the street

if she lives to be one hundred

she would be still fleeing on the street


doesn’t remember what she was wearing


the last wild roses of summer







Ilona Martonfi

Ilona Martonfi: Author of two poetry books, Blue Poppy (Coracle, 2009) and Black Grass (Broken Rules, 2012). Forthcoming, The Snow Kimono (Inanna Publications, Fall 2015). Writes in, Vallum, Tuck Magazine, Accenti, The Fiddlehead, Serai, Steel Chisel and elsewhere. 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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