I’m standing in the queue at the corner shop,
two women are waiting for their turn in front of me,
one old, one young.
The young woman is babbling on.
She’s telling her friend about her husband
how he used to love her in the beginning and
show his affection by pampering her with flowers and
making love to her several times a day and
then something happened, and he doesn’t talk about it
he just keeps on drinking. He is intolerable
he comes home drunk in the evening and
he’s already drunk in the morning when she wakes up
he leaves home drunk and goes somewhere
she doesn’t even know where or to do what
but definitely not to work because that would be impossible...
it doesn’t matter what she tries,
he doesn’t even touch her anymore,
all he does is stare blankly at the wall...
he doesn’t even watch TV
he comes home drunk, lies down on the sofa, and stares into space...
he doesn’t care about the children, either,
though he used to love them
he used to talk about them to anyone who would listen
announcing that his son would be a great man and
calling his daughter his fairy princess...
yes, she is a fairy, a desperate, sad little fairy. Bless her...
she is always asking about her daddy
because she wants him to hug her like he used to
but she can’t find him anymore...
she cries herself to sleep every night...
that’s how I put them to bed, and afterward, I cry, too...
I don’t know what’s going on and
I don’t know what’s going to happen to us.
As she talks, a tear rolls down
her tired, beautiful face, followed by others.
She doesn’t even try to hold them back
maybe she doesn’t even notice that
she’s crying. She is so used to it by now.
The older woman looks at her and
waits for her to stop, not saying a word.
Then she talks to her in a hushed voice
so no one else can hear them.
“Cry, my child, cry, don’t hold back.
Tears are the pus of the soul
sometimes you have to let them
burst open to get some peace.”
PÁL Dániel Levente (1982) is a poet, writer, and author of seven books. Since 2016, he has been working for the Capital Circus as a dramaturge and has created over twenty shows. He lived in the infamous 8th district of Budapest, Hungary’s largest urban slum, and most of his writings are about this district.
MUSEPAPER POEM PRIZE #75
* This is the author's first literary award for a poem. *
JUNE 7, 2023 / MUSEPAPER POEM PRIZE #75 / "TEARS ARE THE PUS OF THE SOUL" © 2022 PÁL DÁNIEL LEVENTE