Yesterday I held nails between my teeth
as I hammered the corners of poems home.
Sometimes the walls would resist and the nail
would bend and I was sorry I had not learned
how to curse in Hungarian. At other times
the walls would yield so easily I could
have kissed them and inadvertently did
as particles of floating plaster
found their way through gaps
between flesh and steel into my breathing.
There were issues of alignment, of coordination.
I was building a room of words and images
and it was good to feel useful for a while.
Afterward the people came
and inexplicable exchanges were made.
The mayor’s speech eloquently
transcended his handsomeness.
The vice mayor read one of my poems
in Slovak then held my hand
and my eye until I felt all languages
could be versions of the one mother tongue.
The evening was as elegant and honest
as these evenings get, really.
My red velvet dress was just a cover,
the real story imprinted in the structures
of cultures that rise and fall and rise again
and in its small way, last night, in a breath
that held the residue of a single plaster kiss.