We watch our grandmother unfurl
from the bed: a fragile bird
with heavy wings. Summer seeps
through the open window of the apartment,
a birdcage, her home for fifty years.
A dull grey building with steps
too foreboding and an elevator
pine paneled like a coffin. Pogácsa
from the subway station
popped into our mouths as she stares at us
tells us in English
brittle and cracked like her bones
that we’ve grown,
that we’re different.
Our father translates
as the smell of cheese
wafts into the memory,
a last look at the birdcage
before the bird was gone.


Ryan Varadi is a senior English Creative Writing Major and the Poetry Editor for Helicon. He is sad that his three years with Helicon are coming to an end. His poem printed here has previously appeared in the literary journal Catfish Creek. When he isn’t writing, he is usually reading, running on the Lakefill, or thinking about dogs.