Vox Populi

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Cynthia Atkins: The Last Cricket Standing

No wind is too cold for lovers — Ukrainian Proverb


 Are you the tiny creature taking up 
the entire night skies? — Our private 
garage band, teasing us with longing? —
        As if silence were a dance
on a magnetic field.  Lyrical, diaphanous creature, 
you’re the essence of all the good sounds —
dishes clanking, saxophones, laughter. 
This trill is the opposite of a tea kettle 
         shrieking. Not at all the siren’s pitch 
of warning just before a building 
is level bombed. The opposite of a gunshot —
         The endless echo.  You’re the hieroglyphs 
we work to understand.  No misgivings, prick-spur 
of our pride, the sandbags buff March winds.  
You are the old ladies whispering 
           under kitchen lights.  The earworm 
singing to pajama-bottomed teen boys, 
tapping chewed-off pencils on schoolbooks.  
You are pulsing in the hips of the couple 
           fucking in the next room —
next room to the next room of the dead.  
From the last blooms of August, sunflowers rise
           from the ashes of our ancestors.   
The women are lighting Shabbos candles 
with Molotov Cocktails — A baby is passed to arms 
on a train.  Looking for the sound of peace 
in a song—breathing, the whole world is in on it.

 Cynthia Atkins is the author of Psyche’s Weathers, In The Event of Full Disclosure (CW Books) and Still-Life With God (Saint Julian Press).  Atkins lives on the Maury River of Rockbridge County, Virginia, with artist Phillip Welch and their family.

A children’s hospital in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol has been destroyed by Russian air strikes, local officials announced on March 22, resulting in a large number of casualties.

5 comments on “Cynthia Atkins: The Last Cricket Standing

  1. Lisa Zimmerman
    March 12, 2022

    “sunflowers rise
    from the ashes of our ancestors”
    Such a beautiful poem, Cynthia, and so 💔

    Liked by 1 person

  2. kim4true
    March 12, 2022

    My heart breaks for the people on the front lines.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vox Populi
      March 12, 2022

      Yes, Eva and I talk about the people of the Ukraine every day. She is a trauma specialist and has been counseling essential workers in Ukraine by zoom. Their lives have become almost surrealistic.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Barbara Huntington
    March 12, 2022

    Wow! Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sean Sexton
    March 12, 2022

    Superb! Thankyou

    Liked by 2 people

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This entry was posted on March 12, 2022 by in Poetry, War and Peace and tagged , , , , .

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