Above the voices of grief in our kitchen
I heard a knock at our front door
and found Hungarian refugee neighbors
with my buddy, Tibor, who already knew
some English. They were crying
as they stood with bowls of gulyas
and pastry trays of orahnjaca.
They whispered,”sajnalom, sajnalom”
and Tibor said, “We are sorry
about your father.” Mrs. Tackash
repeated over and over, “jo ember”
and Tibor told me, “She says your father
was a good man.” My mother invited
them in to join our other neighbors
but they just wanted to give us dishes
and plates still warm beneath waxed paper
filled with their savory and sweet
gifts of friendship and condolence
EDWIN ROMOND’S most recent book is Alone with Love Songs, from Grayson Books. He was a public school English teacher for thirty-two years before retiring. Now, he works part-time in the poetry division of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, facilitating “Spring and Fountain” groups for New Jersey teachers. He lives in Wind Gap, Pennsylvania, with his wife, Mary, their son, Liam, and their dog, Oscar.
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