Pressure Lights

Translated from Hungarian by Timea Sipos

This tunnel is underwater. It doesn’t matter whose it is.

You’ve never seen anything like it: I hold the spheres
of my life below sea level like a virtuoso. An inherited or learned reflex?

Until now, I swam away from obsession to catch something
easy to digest. They say the sea floor collects
all the ocean’s garbagemen. The color of blood,
if anyone were to see them.

I left you there, my world. My heroic antics
again, of course. I’m so tired
of myself, my scales.

A thousand meters below the surface
pressure lights and complete darkness.
Little survivors alleged to be beautiful.

This is exactly how much distance is between us: for a while now
in these northern nights, it is only because of my fear that I





photograph of the poet Kornelia Deres
Photo by Krisztian Bokor

Kornélia Deres is a Hungarian poet, editor, and theatre scholar. She earned her PhD in 2015 from Eötvös University (ELTE) in Budapest, where she now works as a junior assistant professor. Her first poetry collection, Szőrapa (“terrycloth father”), was published by the JAK Literary Association for Emerging Writers in 2011 and was awarded the Best Debut Book Prize. Her second poetry collection, entitled Bábhasadás (“the crack of the puppet”), touches upon the interconnections of memory, dreams, cognition, and fiction. Her third poetry collection Box is forthcoming in 2022. Timea Sipos’s English translations of her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Denver Quarterly, Eurolitkrant, Asymptote, and elsewhere.

Timea Sipos is a Hungarian American writer, poet, and translator. Her writing appears in Prairie Schooner, Passages North, Juked, and The Anthology of Bisexual Poetry, among others. Her translations can be found in the Washington Square Review, The Offing, Asymptote, Two Lines, and elsewhere. Learn more about her work and the online translation workshops she offers at Read Timea Sipos’s story, “What They Call It” here.