Another Art: In Hungary
by Susanna Rich
For my Elizabeths
Misplacing is easy: Where is my Droid
jammed with winged statues of naked women
and selfies with lovers on metro escalators?
Ah, yes, raveled up in the Imperial tape measure
I brought to tabulate how my waist
takes to poppy seed palacsinta,
Bull’s Blood merlot, Bird’s Milk Egg Creams.
Keys go on forays, of course, shoes,
glasses, the pen I was just using, the other sock.
But then I lose my GOWalking pedometer,
a 1½” X 2½” gray thingie I clamp
onto the tongue of my Nike’s
to calibrate how far I traipse—
176 steps up to Fisherman’s Bastion;
synagogue to basilica; museum, museum,
museum to terminal market—
pendulum marking my course,
keeping score of my days.
It hurts to lose it—small trochaic
kathumping on my foot—
magic rattle assuring me:
my steps matter enough.
I retrace my steps, eyes low to cobblestones—
back over the Chain Bridge
to the stone lions with missing tongues,
for which the sculptor committed suicide;
through the cavernous Gellért spa,
with its frightening echoes
and limping white robes—
looking hurt into people’s faces.
It was too trivial to matter (until it did),
mass-produced in a China I’ll never know,
five-buck WalMart impulse—
eminently replaceable through the web.
Might as well have been
the hand of the child I never had,
my estranged sister phoning me—
all the things-I’ll-never-have glitches
around which I mold myself
like a storm around its eye.
The young waitress at the Coyote Pub—
For when you’re hungry as a wolf—
calls out to me as I sulk by:
You left something. Here.
Gray thing—heartbeats, feet,
bridges, time itself—reprieved.
Momentary joy: a stranger turned sister,
a foreign country become home
and I into the child found.
But what to do, where go,
now that I’m untethered
to what’s lost?
SOURCE: “Another Art” first appeared in Literary Bohemian.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: “Another Art” was inspired during MY Fulbright residency in Budapest, 2005.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Susanna Rich is a bilingual Hungarian-American, a Fulbright Fellow in Creative Writing (Hungary), a Collegium Budapest fellow, and a Distinguished Professor of English at Kean University (New Jersey). An Emmy Award nominee, Susanna is founding producer and principal performer at Wild Nights Productions, LLC. Her repertoire includes the one-woman poetry musical Shakespeare’s *itches: The Women Talk Back and ashes, ashes: A Poet Responds to the Shoah. Susanna is author of three poetry collections, Surfing for Jesus, Television Daddy, and The Drive Home. Visit her at wildnightsproductions.com.
AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: This photograph was taken with Jucika, the Falcon, in Fisherman’s Bastion (Budapest, Hungary).
Photo by Morton D. Rich.