The Diary Of A Nomad
by Ilona Martonfi

Oil paintings, candelabra, a dragonfly tiffany lamp. Every inch of the studio: pots of geraniums, blue stoneware dishes in an armoire, found their way into the poems I wrote. My subjects: life, death. Love and loss. The natural world.

Castanea bearing catkin flowers. Large edible nuts enclosed in a spiny fruit. The well was circled with wild mint and yellow buttercups. My kitchen filled with aroma of baked apples. Mother's orange-red, cast-iron soup pot. On this June morning: hum of downtown traffic. Squawking gulls: white plumage with a mantle of grey or black. The omnivorous crow.

Shrill playtime of children on the swings. My husband and our children come to my bedroom at night in my dreams: tall grasses are stiff and dry. Trees, leafless. Limestone slab roofs. Love letters bundled together with frayed ribbons. Divorced, I gradually simplified my life. Trivial things do not concern me anymore.

Edited to the bare bones. Frugal diet: spinach, yoghurt, carrots. A nomad's life: one room furnished simply. I lost the desire to acquire more things. There are no beds in my room. No pictures of anyone on my walls. Some think it poverty to be surrounded by so few things. "Where do you sleep?" they ask.

The studio's apple green walls. A hooked rug by my daughter. Two earthen jugs. Handcrafted and blue-painted dresser. Oak table. Stained cherrywood chest. A small closet stuffed with forty years of clothing. Layer on layer of beauty: a world you wanted to inhabit. A red chair on the balcony. Rooftop garden. A granddaughter digging roses.

Ilona Martonfi is a poet, creative-writing teacher, editor, and founder, producer, and host of both The Yellow Door and Visual Arts Centre Poetry and Prose Readings. Ilona's poems have appeared in Vallum, Carve, Arcade, Soliloquies, Helios, Montreal Serai, Fire with Water, and Sun Through the Blinds: Haiku Today. She was a finalist in the 2007 Quebec Writing Competition and was subsequently published in In Other Words: New English Writing from Quebec (VĂ©hicule Press, 2008). Ilona's forthcoming book of poems, called Blue Poppy, will be published by Coracle Press.