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Zita Izso: a poem

Photograph by Laura Veres


To Vanessa Loureiro

First we had nothing.

We started to bury the stillborn adults,

those beyond recovery.

Then we started to heal with thermometers.

We had no medicines

but somehow we had to indicate

that everything was being handled well.

We were about to be decorated in the town.

We tried to explain

we were not any different from the others,

we just allowed something to sweep through us,

like the first cry

of the newborn,

making the respiratory tracts free.

We became lighter and lighter.

We buried everything we used to have

alongside the dead,

every overglamourized frock,

every jewel impossible to sell,

each undeniable sin,

each thought left unuttered.

Translated by Agnes Marton.

Zita Izso is the recipient of numerous awards and grants, including the Zsigmond Móricz Literary Grant, the Mihály Babits Literary Translator Grant and the NKA Arts Grant. She published her third poetry collection in 2018 under the title Éjszakai földet érés (Nighttime Landing).

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