Tóth Krisztina költő, író, műfordító

Fotó: Bulla Bea     

Translations by Peter Sherwood


A mother’s list

Never aim a gun at doves.
Find no fish in empty tubs.

The line’s dead: don’t clutch the phone,
don’t call from a box outside at dawn.

Sight no hedgehogs capped with cans.
More? Nor tired-out flies between the panes.

To miss the soul’s shit-smell: it’s a pity.
Make no notes or lists: it’s silly.

Just shed that self-ironic gaze,
and those tears: let the Kleenex cope.

And if ever I should say by chance
Pull yourself together — Go. No backward glance.



While making love the winter street
behind your eyes the lamps light up
the pavement encrusted with light
standing before a house where

It’s so cold not even the dogs bark
you see the pee-stain frozen in the snow
and try to flick your stub in there
if I can do it now what would happen if

I told you I’m not able to love you
that I never was not anyone ever
If I went in now nothing would happen
as there’s always a street somewhere elsewhere

That I have not for years been able to sleep
in this body there in no body whose hands
even as they caress can close
my eyes within looking up to the snow

If I rang your bell as I happened to be
passing I’d sit down I’m fine and you
If I opened my eyes into them there’d tumble
all the sadness from yours—


Shadows of Budapest (dream, photo, roars)

Éva Köves: Shadows of Budapest
(canvas, photo, oils)


The moon’s neon light falls,
a flare of sky in the snow.
Turning, switching, ticking back.
Wakefulness, brow of the hour.


Crossing the bridge to Buda.
Neither river not yet dream,
iron girders wander in the water.
I hurry, for my home is me.


Along the negative of the street,
Coming from there, always thence
Entering back first, despite the toll
of memory’s bells in space.


Were he to come home, inward,
from the dark back into the dark,
it would be clear: he’s at one with me.
I could then be unquestioningly.


Change light on his arm inscribes
a stripe of black. There he stands
and would go but so would the stripe.
He stays: tattooed in two minds.


An unclear moment, I try to find an exit.
I try something in order to exit.
If there were a thread. Someone to proffer it.
If I had a single match. If there were Ariadne.


I ought just to leave the Whole,
as you bodied forth from me,
a part of me that is not. All I do,
everything, is to live as though you see.


Untold detail gets discarded.
Only the evening falls or a face on show.
An endless bridge extends within,
making no echo, taking in silenzio.


And it leads straight there, your dream
bears you along a street with no name,
crossing from white into black.
I hurry, for your home is me.


Looking down into the sluggish water:
how deep the depth of this ‘not so long ago’.
Moonstruck silence mirroring none.
How long has this been flowing on.



How can thirty-two have gone?
How can days and weeks have flown?
It’s over,
no longer

does the present lend it
(where I haven’t been) credit;
the past
has passed,

so much time, almost too much. But
this is not the only shock I’ve had:
both moon
and sun

Swaddled my life as it cooled,
What I didn’t do, I do plan to.
Of life
a half

I’ve lived: my face still ‘fair’,
I’m not breastfallen, I dare
say. So
far, so

good. There’s even a kid (the dear!)
Maybe he’ll start to talk this year,

But what’s happened, where did it all go,
The thirty-two years of all the dust-snow;
my dust,
my heat,

have they spiralled into space,
or where have they left a trace?
What lies
–lot of whys—

at the heart of words and hearts,
and is this how my life will pass?
Or will
I still,

beyond this over-complex life,
all of a sudden just arrive
and why I here have merely stood
will there and thence be understood?


Who’s turning me round inside his head,
me, imagining’s born and bred?
Who’s thinking me past the farther shore
of sleep, where none have been before?

They churn you round and out you’re spit,
they spurn you and then make you: spit.
The bed’s unmade, you toss and turn,
your spitten image sleeps alone.

He’ll turn you inside out, the guy
who thought you up, and grab your fire:
your self itself turns inside out,
like imagining’s still-born dead.

Your turner-round should sleep within you,
in case your sleep should please that him who
is in charge of long and sterile laughter,
of ostentatious tears the father.




Welcome , today is Monday, 2019-05-20