from Siula Grande
White night 1
The forecast is for newer snowfalls. For another fading face, another forest to be erased with transparent ink from the landscape and then forgotten. The last thing you would want is to freeze thirty thousand feet above sea level. Above cloud-level. Magnolia trees flower more than once a year, they say, their new leaves, the sprouts, fluffy nestlings, puffy squabs. These oval sentences always give you hope. It’s another sharp manoeuvre into the altocumulus mackerel-sky as if sleep-hiking above Siula Grande. It’s just another rock-craft, snow-craft, mountaineering with a single ice-axe by yourself. The plane perforates a blizzard finally, an insomniac face dipped into a pile of pillows. But the main thing is to trust the pilot, and pilots from that country are renowned for their reliability, you mutter to yourself, when Brno crops up on the satellite, the old town’s parched monks spring out of a hip flask, one by one, twenty-four Capuchin cocoons, in your pocket, curling like talismans of friendship. You too, shut your eyes, mummification is your intention. Pass me a pillow of bricks, you whisper. To strip off your old skin like a winter coat. Venice on the navigation screen is a throbbing dot. Canals stink, your text reads: wait for me on Campo Ruga, it is the rim of the universe, remember. When you get there, the square is empty, snowed up. The washing’s blown away from the lines. The lines, which crisscrossed the sky from roof to roof, are now only vapour trails, flickering neon signs above the boarded up entrance of the bar from where you once counted terracotta chimneys and tight laundry ropes. You’d rather think of Brno for now, its mummified brothers lying in rows, clad in robes, draped with rosaries, clutching a compass, deep cracks and craters etched into their papery features although their snoring is near audible if you actually listened. There is a long and elastic queue for the bus, like an accordion panting in and out. A winter coat’s left sleeve lifts itself towards the altocumulus mackerel sky. Look, why do faces dissolve with the gloss of the glass? On buses and on trains and on trams. I breathe and because of that sudden puff, I wipe out the foliage of forests. I blow all the leaves off the magnolia tree. They scatter like black and brown Indian Runner Ducks in the snow. The North Wind creeps in and out through the nostrils. I pull my red suitcase after my shadow. You’ve now begun your descent, the airhostess hisses into my ears, a hysterical lullaby.
Agnes Lehoczky an Hungarian-born poet and translator, was born in Budapest in 1976. She holds a PhD in Critical and Creative Writing from the UEA. She has two short poetry collections in Hungarian, Station X (2000) and Medallion (2002) and her first full collection, Budapest to Babel, was published by Egg Box in 2008. She was the 2009 recipient of the Arthur Welton Poetry Award and the winner of the Daniil Pashkoff Prize 2010 in poetry and has recently won the Jane Martin Prize for Poetry of Girton College, Cambridge. Her collection of essays on the poetry of Agnes Nemes Nagy Poetry the Geometry of Living Substance was published in 2011 by Cambridge Scholars. Her second collection Rememberer was published by Egg Box in 2012