Ilona Martonfi

The snow kimono

Someday, I will sew a kimono
work at my lessons
use dyes and mordants to brush in the pattern
watch my daughters grow day by day.

The beauty of the not-beautiful
the day he ordered me divorced
the river was full of ice
but those were times of famine.
So you know all about me then.
I came here to escape

a shelter with a soup kitchen
baggage stored in drop-in basement

what happens to all the reels
located, lost everything
but their sound
black lacquered geta —wooden clogs
not that laughter does not exist
tug at the weft.
A sixty-bed dormitory
shuttered windows, doors.
The downtown Eastside
gives them supper, sleep overnight
gives them breakfast,
and they go back on the street

unpick all the stitching
white of the ume —plum blossoms

amidst winter’s frost
since I last saw my children

someday, I will work at my lessons

wash kimono silks
allow to float in the river

hand sew it all together again
wrap in tatoushi —rice paper
twelve layers.

Ilona Martonfi is the author of poetry books Blue Poppy (Coracle Press, 2009), Black Grass (Broken Rules Press, 2012) and the forthcoming The Snow Kimono (Inanna Publications, Fall 2015). Her poems have been published in chapbooks, magazines, and anthologies. Ilona is the founder and producer of the Yellow Door and Visual Arts Centre Readings, and co-founder of the Lovers & Others QWF 2010 Community Award.