Woman in the dream of the pink house & Rocking horse




Woman in the dream of the pink house


I listen to you tell, Éloïse. Years before this dream. Perhaps it is taboo because it is ugly. We are stripping corn and talking. I stare at your bruised face. Speaking the unspeakable. Why?

Putty coloured monochrome. You, and sycamore roots, clumps of clay. Under that, the Saint Lawrence River. Mice in kitchen pipes. Un mur mitoyen — semi-detached triplex sharing a common wall. Built in 1932. You, and back alley coal sheds covered with sheet metal. Milk in glass bottles. Laundry flapping on clotheslines. Everydayness. Your children in school. Or have they moved out to live on their own? How many times do you return and speak with him? Squatter in the ground floor loft. 700 square feet. Cold and grey. Shuttered Hochelaga typewriter store: rue Sainte-Catherine Est, corner rue Davidson. So begins a Saturday night. From street to street. Far from that woman with her reed baskets. Farm table and six mismatched jute cord chairs. Apple trees you planted, Éloïse. Raspberries.

This triplex, a first property, you say. You, and red brick with ochre mortar. Flat weave kilim rugs, unvarnished oak floors, catching a full moon. Sleeping in a brass bed with a lilac duvet. Leaving it rumpled. “I must lock the door,” you say.

Years before this dream. Orangerie winter garden. Purple roses, Éloïse. Old pattern coming back to the dance. No longer lied to.


Rocking horse

Rocking horse


Mártonfi József  1948 – 2015


When my brother was dying
I remembered the rocking horse
he received for Christmas
I wanted his gift
he was only six months old
and I was a faster rider


red, blue, and gold mane
wooden eyes
leather bridle, harness
sitting under a tall pine tree
lit with red wax candles.
What can I say to him?
“Öcsi,” father called him. “Junior.”
A first son after four daughters.


“Silent Night, holy Night”
war refugees from Budapest
old Hütte — timber hut
in the Bavarian Forest foothills
a father and a mother
Grandmother, Kisanyuka


would I want that rocking horse
now that he was dying
in his sixty-seventh year
metastasized liver cancer.


What happens to the dead? I ask.


Living on a houseboat
Puget Sound, Washington
wetlands tidal marshes
the last outpost of the coast
carry his flight from the law
highschool dropout
he didn’t answer letters
call long-distance
he married, twice


the rocking horse
I would give it back


to see my brother again
in that childhood Hütte.



Ilona Martonfi is the author of three poetry books, Blue Poppy (Coracle, 2009), Black Grass (Broken Rules, 2012) and The Snow Kimono (Inanna, 2015), and the founder/producer of the Yellow Door and Visual Arts Centre Readings. She was granted the Quebec Writers’ Federation 2010 Community Award.