A poem by Richard Teleky

Two young guys from Miskolc sand
and varnish and buff my parquet floors

when one cuts his hand. I’m quick
to offer Band-Aids and Polysporin.

We stand together in the bathroom
and look down at the raw red gash

across his thumb. Fiam, I nearly say
in his language, a too-familiar word,

my boy, my son. You must be more
careful, you’re overworked, drained

by the local vampires who call
themselves landlords and entrepreneurs

and draw every drop of blood better
than a Transylvanian monster can.


RICHARD TELEKY is the author of several novels, books of poetry, and collections of essays. His most recent book is The Dog on the Bed: A Canine Alphabet (2011). He lives in Toronto.

WHAT TO READ NEXT: "Between the whinging devil and the menacing old man, / and through the night that insofar as we know began / before we did, and will, like Borges’s knight, succeed us..."