December 8, 2014 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION




Ilona Martonfi




le 6 décembre 1989



Through the window

snow and bitter cold


you carry a stone building

a grammar school

St. Malachy’s fenced-in yard

on Clanranald Avenue

girls on one side, boys on the other

nuns in long black habits.

Through the window

metropolis in the fifties

you learn to speak English


red clay tile rooftops

yellow electric streetcars

wooden pine seats, slat floors

pigtailed Magyar refugee girl of thirteen.


Your father owns a Cukrászda—

Magyar pastry shop on Decarie Boulevard

dobos torte, painted marzipan

after school, you score orange peels



through the window

you bear three decades later,

a red brick Anjou villa

by the St Lawrence River

there is a house you fled,


you carry four children


grow apple trees

jasmine, wild roses


through the window:

you will perform Mozart’s Requiem

Grant them eternal rest, Lord,

and let perpetual light shine on them.

That we say their names.

On the north slope of Mont Royal

Marc Lépine

École Polytechnique massacre

le 6 décembre 1989


television crew interviewing

at Auberge Transition

residents at a battered women’s shelter

sitting around an oval oak table

“When I saw their beautiful young faces

in the Gazette newspaper,

then I cried,” you said.







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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