Through the kitchen window:
walnut trees in bloom. Forsythia.
Alpine foothills, granite cliffs
by the old railroad tracks, Chimanigasse,
the Magyar refugee camp
Ungarnlager Korneuburg —
220 beds, 270 mattresses, 25 tables, 28 chairs.
Lime wash paint tinted ochre brown.
In the root cellar: Kraut, Kartoffel,
Zwiebel, white onions, purple sugar beets.
Only yesterday, the river Danube,
apa, my father, fleeing in an Opel truck
across Petöfi pontoon bridge.
Along forest roads Budapest to Vienna
dune grasses, osier reed, listening:
yesterday, on the last stop of the tram line.
Our house on Liszt Ferenc utca 14 —
four-story, red sandstone, and marble.
Soviet soldiers marching in the streets.
100-day siege in an air raid cellar.
Yesterday, I packed things:
my doll, Baba, my plush dog,
family, friends, and several neighbours.
Some carried trunks and bags,
mother packed the cross-stitch tablecloth,
Three daughters, ages four, three, and one.
Pink hair ribbon, ankle boots,
goose down duvet and pillows.
By the old railroad tracks:
Wild sorrel. Plum trees. The river.
Mi chiamo la straniera,
I am the stranger,
bear the sapphire sea
carry a forgotten
violet mud walls
protected from hot dry sirocco
desert sand from the Sahara
because of my daily walk
to the abandoned limestone quarry
il giardino ipogeo
the hypogeum cave garden
it is here in this manor
Baglio di Baarìa, Sicilia
prickly pear cactus
slopes of Mount Catalfamo
I carry a place
Bāb al-Gerib (gateway of the wind),
Where was I? I ask
the Magyar wife
so tired, so tired
his mother Giuseppa had warned her son
about this strange woman
the elopement —
the man, who grew oleander trees