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Whippoorwill by Ilona Martonfi

I haven’t been back to my blind sister Ibolya Éva’s home since mother’s death. I passed right by it once, in a dream. White clapboard on Potters Road, in Tillsonburg. Lake Erie sand dunes. Unbarked. Unpainted. I could see the cedar fence gate is shut, so I decide not to ring the bell. I make the long train trip there to visit, but my sister refuses to see me. She uses bricks to wall off the yard in front of the house three feet wide.


on moonlit nights

wooing of the whippoorwill

strutting, sidling about


A cold draft blows through the parlour. The catalpa tree outside rattles her seed pods. I feel a tear rolling down my face. I feel like giving her a hug. “Do you want to sit in the garden?” My sister is annoyed. I get up, go out alone, and sit down on the porch to say hello to mother.

pink swamp hibiscus

flowers opening for one day

I go, and summer too




Ilona Martonfi is an editor, poet, curator, and activist. Author of four poetry books, the most recent collection is Salt Bride (Inanna, 2019). Forthcoming, The Tempest (Inanna, 2021). Writes in journals, anthologies, and six chapbooks. Curator Visual Arts Centre Reading Series and Argo Bookshop Reading Series. QWF 2010 Community Award.

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