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Lex Runciman: News from Kyev

Gray light, tideline low and distant, 

and Iā€™m reading from a morning public forum

words posted by a woman I knew once, decades ago,

who, trusting a neighbor, has left behind 

two cats and a blind dog, secure, she hopes, 

in a basement with food and water, has left behind 

her library and two decades of files, has forgotten 

her second boots but not underwear, nor her coat, 

nor socks. She flees the lottery of slaughter.

She writes that she travels by car, then on foot, 

then by car again, each time driven by friends, 

or friends of friends, or by strangers, each kilometer

that much safer, for on her old neighborhood,

on her old city she yet calls her own, bombs 

explode in streets, on rooftops, through windows, 

doorways. Statues have toppled. On one sidewalk

a human arm and hand softened 

as it collected new snow ā€“ she has seen this. 

In nine days she has not slept one night through ā€“

the bombing irregular, meant to disrupt.

I look up. Tide incoming, and the coffee I made 

has gone cold in this unbroken mug, as I think

on what she and her country teach me.


Copyright 2022 Lex Runciman

Lex Runciman is the author of six books of poems, including Salt Moons: Poems 1981-2016, published by Salmon Poetry, winner of the Silcox Prize. He lives in Portland, Oregon. 

The Russian army is attacking residential areas of Kyev (source: Telegraph)

3 comments on “Lex Runciman: News from Kyev

  1. Barbara Huntington
    March 9, 2022

    Wow.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Janice Falls
    March 9, 2022

    Deep thanks for this – I so prefer to get this devastating news poetically than the usual soulless sources.

    Liked by 4 people

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This entry was posted on March 9, 2022 by in Poetry, War and Peace and tagged , , , , , , .

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