Translated from the Hungarian by Owen Good
Like he just walked out of the video shop,
there stands the statue of archangel Michael
in one of history’s shaded courtyards.
In the city to take a break,
he’s renting out all the films.
Paying no heed to the plinth, he promises
cool, darkened rooms and, through the cracks of the blinds,
a lot of sex.
Well, all right.
His renaissance rendering contends beautifully
with porn fantasies,
and at last I’d never dream
of leaving the house,
either in time or in space,
because that look of his
claps me up in a stupor.
I always rewind to my favourite scene,
the one I’m in with the flood behind me.
And he’s acting as if his wings
were merely jazzy
accessories and nothing more,
and he speaks about his time as the leader of the Army of God
the way Americans speak about Vietnam.
Hoping he’d say the fruit of my womb
was blessed, he replied,
when he can, he goes to the farmer’s market.
But I’ll never forget how,
like in this poem, though he never did,
he grabbed my flesh as though it was his own,
and how the scream of centuries broke forth
from an astral rattle deep in his throat.
Ever since, with my every orgasm
I, too, am canonised an angel,
and, with a growing hunger for pleasure,
as I find my place on this planet’s body, I cry,
Who is like God?
Like he just walked out of my bedroom;
there stands the statue of the archangel Michael,
in one of history’s shaded courtyards,
and he won’t let me write a poem about him,
because no one comes to Rome alone.
She comes among us to scatter snow,
but her flesh is warm, and mercy
is of as much interest to her as where she lives,
the weather there.
It’s of no comfort she’ll be remembered:
in good time she was blessed,
and her cells leapt forth, ran off, while
alone at home,
and now something’s growing inside her.
it’s male, there’s a tassel,
never mind God,
he’s not even her own son.
She’s vaster than the Creator,
she has a body.
Mary is struck by the unsettling feeling that
she is the very likeness of herself,
and a feathery nothing
is making a nest for the newly arrived.
And as I stroll towards her in thought,
with Mary, hand in hand.
Countless voices trimming her horizon;
her sight stretches into the distance.
Until in an unguarded moment, which
might be best compared to pain,
she tears the heavens down.
Owen Good, born 1989, is a translator of Hungarian from the north of Ireland. Good's work has been published in Asymptote, Words Without Borders, Dalkey Archive's Best of European Fiction, B O D Y, and Pleasure Garden among others. His translation of Krisztina Tóth's collection of short stories Pixel will be published by Seagull Books spring 2019.