Réka Nyitrai

The jaguar

One million years ago I lived in a country where most everything was made of bird-dreams.
Even now, after so many years, I can recall my favorite ice cream; the one whipped with titmice-dreams. It tasted like sunrise: fresh and breezy. It was sold by an old egret-dream man, the one who rode a purple bike. To be honest, I do not know what kind of bird-dreams his bike was made of.
As unbelievable as it may sound, our schools; our hospitals; our churches... all were constructed of bird-dreams. Even our chairs, tables and beds were carved from them.
I remember my favorite coffee-mug was one part fieldfare-dreams, one part sparrow-dreams.
My husband was a jaguar — the only thing I know not to have been made of dreams. Needless to say that I discovered this a little too late.

Burning giraffe
(After Salvador Dalí’s painting Burning Giraffe, 1937)

At twilight you unbuttoned my nightshirt and opened my drawers. You smelled them with your hands. You walked your fingers through them till you found water. Each drawer smelled like rain-soaked woods. Some tasted like curdled milk. Other tasted like plum brandy. Each of them screamed loneliness. Each of them had its own tiny monster: a breast that refused nursing; an old woman cradling a baby; a bicycle carrying home a drunken man; a boy drawing only black suns; a girl who wanted to become a hammer; crumbling Christmas trees; a mother with sad eyes; and many, many, old men, every one of them in a B-film — Searching for the father I never had.

The blue swan

Rumor has it that sometimes, during moonlit nights, in one of the many fountains of Rome, one can witness a gliding blue swan.
Some say that this swan is an angel set free by Michelangelo; that it was carved from a chunk of blue marble brought to his deathbed by a woman built of a flock of pigeons. Others believe that hidden inside this blue swan one may find the Virgin Mary cradling a wooden doll.
On the other hand, one might argue that this blue swan does not even exist or exists only in this poem.
Nevertheless, as the shadow of this blue swan, I can assure you that all mothers would happily sacrifice life, if only they could return their children from death.

Réka Nyitrai is a spell, a sparrow, a lioness's tongue — a birds nest in a pool of dusk. She is the recipient of a Touchstone Distinguished Books Award for 2020 for her debut haiku volume While Dreaming Your Dreams (Valencia Spain: Mono Ya Mono Books, 2020).
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