gowalking pedometer
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.


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.