Hungarian Freedom Fighter
In 1956 Father Babos escaped
the troops and tanks, the blood that pooled
and curdled on the cobblestones.
Now in a classroom in New York City
he teaches history and faith.
Father Babos is thin and pale;
and when he stands to teach, his voice
and fingers shake.
Students of defiance, we laugh
and raise our hands against his
Our hands are white flags of betrayal;
the flags that silenced Maleter and Nagy;
our laughter tanks and soldiers moving closer.
In a classroom before a blackboard
in New York City, where instinct rises
like a sudden show of hands,
in black cassock
and stiff white collar, Father Babos
stalks the aisles between us
He hurls his words like stones.