“even if it was mentioned, it was one sentence…”
The Ukrainian Weekly: Day of Memory,
Recollections of Famines
Does my name take your tongue’s
otherwise unclaimed space?
Swallow once for me.
These gooseberries are not stones,
this cup of water,
this cup of water.
My father worked, mother waited in line
at night for maloyem, crust thin as a wrist,
a breath, an octave
between one child
and the other lying in snow,
how blue that blue.
Dnister River Snails
faces, green grey,
like of those fallen with swollen bellies—
The snails promised
we’ll hold you
no livestock no chickens
hunger if it could open its mouth wide enough
open its wide enough
open wide enough
hunger would tear
out the windows
Shortly before Deaths
of those already called back to air,
silk plums of your bruised feet split
& you dreamed, instead,
of slipping through any weightless surface.
Come out we have a doll for you
Never open the door.
I am not afraid to speak of this
a cry from the heart
given by my parents,
a grain from the burning storage chamber
doused with kerosene,
the meat from the market–
no pigweed, no stinging nettles left.