3 poems for Ukraine. by Katia Kapovich


Chronicles of this war

In February the world became silent like a mouse,
you open a comp to see a falling house, 
an old man embracing what is left, a puppy,
while in the background burns a flying canopy
that somehow flew through the broken window glass.
So the old man takes an empty bottle,
fills it up with a gasoline
makes a Molotov cocktail and goes to battle 
an armored car fighting for his Ukraine,
for its poplars, for its peaceful hearth,
for its people, for a church steeple
because not gods win war on earth,
but regular guys, ordinary people.

I Refuse

I refuse to write beautiful verse
in these days when an old man dies
because a rocket hits his house
in the present continuous tense.
When a woman screams in the debris
I refuse to write beautiful lies,
On my mind and with such esprit
only her bloody face and burning eyes.
No way I say “yes” to the view
to a plane in a Kharkiv’s windowpane,
Hey you, occupier: “Fuck you,
go away from my Ukraine!”

Talk softly to yourself

Talk softly to yourself
while walking down the street:
“Too much grief! Too much grief.
Is it my fault?” The air is sweet.
In Bucha a man lies by the curb.
His little girl is embracing her dog,
waiting for her dad to wake up.
He won’t. Internal monologue.
Good God, behold our losses!
Corpses, corpses, corpses.
Alone, you turn a corner, reaching home. 
Elsewhere, death hits, another life is gone.

When this horrible war is over
we’ll come out to the streets with flowers,
carnations, clematis, white clover –
long leave, peace! 
We’ll again fall in love with faces
on the river’s wooden pierce,
with the grass of asphalt crevices –
long live, peace!
We’ll say the names of the dead soldiers,
of all these who we terribly miss,
When the horrible war finally ends,
long live, peace.

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KATIA KAPOVICH is the author of ten Russian collections and of two volumes of English verse, Gogol in Rome (Salt, 2004, shortlisted for England’s 2005 Jerwood Alderburgh Prize) and Cossacks and Bandits (Salt, 2008). Her English language poetry has appeared in the London Review of Books, Poetry, The New Republic, Harvard Review, The Independent, The Common, Jacket, Plume and numerous other periodicals, as well as in several anthologies including Best American Poetry 2007 and Poetry 180 (Random House, Billy Collins, Ed.)  Katia Kapovich, the recipient of the 2001 Witter Bynner Fellowship from the U.S. Library of Congress, and a poet-in-residence at Amherst College in 2007, lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She is the recipient of the 2013 Russian Prize in the category “Short Fiction”. Also, in 2019 she received an international Hemingway Prize for her book of short stories, that includes fictionalized documentary proze.


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Published by darcie friesen hossack

Darcie Friesen Hossack is a graduate of the Humber School for Writers. Her short story collection, Mennonites Don’t Dance, was a runner-up for the Danuta Gleed Award, shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Ontario Library Association's Forest of Reading Evergreen Award for Adult Fiction. Citing irreverence, the book was banned by the LaCrete Public Library in Northern Alberta. Having mentored with Giller finalists Sandra Birdsell (The Russlander) and Gail Anderson Dargatz (Spawning Grounds, The Cure for Death by Lightening), Darcie's first novel, Stillwater, will be released in the spring of 2023. Darcie is also a four time judge of the Whistler Independent Book Awards, and a career food writer. She lives in Northern Alberta, Canada, with her husband, international award-winning chef, Dean Hossack.

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