Danube is too thick


to swim in the summer


heat waves, the fan

in grandmother’s parlour is cracked, women

with smooth skin and dark heels, spying.


From the window arrives

a slow revelation

this is how the morning comes, this


is how morning comes,

this is how


hot steam of laundry,

rising bread meets 

cracked cobblestone, the church bells


sharp, ringing out & quick prayer.


Bridges at noon sway

over river & poison

Heat, dusty heat coats

buildings, arched doorways, wrought

iron framework, perfumery’s gloss, Evelin

in embroidery, the sun a lemon


bleaching our skin, our

boys with cigarettes in their mouths,

hopping underground turnstiles, feeling

the glassy echo of their feet, wings in

their hearts to leave one day. Crimson


carnations and faded posters.

The Hosok ter statue declares

Budapest the most beautiful girl

who’ll make you look twice, smack

into a wall


then dash away,

the trolley shaking its hips whips by and she is gone.


fading into gypsy music on the street corner,

lamps explode into light and breathe


smell of paprika, sausages, pastries.

Where a moon bursts each night

as a wildflower

humming, humming noise

where the fountains come on at dawn.


Of all beautiful things,

you are the most quiet.



- Maria Lenart