Marai Sandor in San Diego
Deprived of the Magyar language, of pörkölt cooked
in cramped kitchens, of the scent of elder flowers,
you don't meet your cronies on the street. You scour
the shops, but they don't sell what you need. You look
at every table—there's no one here you know,
no one to gossip with, to disentangle
your braided consonants. The war mangled
your world—the Germans set up radios,
Reds used your parlor for their motor pool.
Your bones crave cold light, Krisztinaváros,
the stones of Castle Hill, the view from Sparrow
Tower before the siege. You need the cruel
tartness of accented vowels. This southern sun
can't melt the bullets of your native tongue.