KR OnlineThe Patricia Grodd Poetry Prize for Young Writers

The Solitude of Hungarians

One Sunday in June it was discovered that
no one outside of Hungary spoke Hungarian.
People choked on their dinners for weeks—
they couldn’t stand it! Swimming in their rooftop
swimming pools, galloping on their Hungarian horses,
pondering this idea of America, where Hungary
was a feeling in the stomach instead of the heart,
how in China, there was no word for bread.
It was like having one’s husband die in war
and becoming an exile in one’s own home.
Budapest felt like a spinster’s mansion,
people wandering the streets with untucked shirts
tipping over melon stands in dismay,
and all because the Russians spoke Russian instead.
There were accidents.
Peasants rebelled and only spoke backwards.
“Executes God, plans man!” they warned,
and Hungarian, the bastard Slavic son,
drowned in their mouths and in every river,
and you finally had an excuse
for not understanding your brother.
Last September, one man managed to escape
that lonely country, sneaking across the Austrian border
and nobody noticed.
Instantly, his teeth fell out.
He spent the rest of his life
trying to screw them back in.