Author: Mary O’Donnell

came to me in stamps. 

Magyar Posta ice-skaters, delicate 

as Empire porcelain, a fish, an astronaut 

and rocket, a silvery boy on 1960s skis. 

I understood only difference. 

Now, flying home from Budapest, 

I touch the pages of my poems, freshly minted 

in translation. Now I really don’t get them, 

but did I ever? The words will make me 

briefly native to a coffee-slugging morning reader 

on the Váci út, who may not understand,

even in his own tongue. 

The lines shimmer as night slips 

through the tilting crowded cabin. Again 

I press fingers to page, blind, as if by touch 

I could capture a fish, an astronaut, a rocket, 

or those elegant, ice-cutting skaters. 

Outside, clouds I cannot see 

busily translate country to country.