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Michael T. Young: The Spoils of War

A little girl grips the one toy she was
allowed to carry away through crowds
stumbling together from their homes.
A stuffed animal—maybe a rabbit or cat.
Whatever name she gives it is infected
with the stench of displacement.
It’s a name that will nest inside her
like a flightless bird. If she makes it
from the streets of Donetsk to the border
with her parents, in years to come, it will
hatch on a day cleaning a closet, when
she pulls this animal from the back
and immediately smells smoke and hears
sirens in every direction. She will feel heat
off a burning car blackening the façade
of the local theater. Images will return
of a neighbor boy, the one with the chipped
tooth that made him whistle when he said
her name. Did he make it? Or his parents?
She will sit on the floor and hold, again,
the soft shape of what remains broken.

Copyright 2022 Michael T. Young

Michael T. Young’s third collection of poems The Infinite Doctrine of Water was published by Terrapin Books. He lives with his wife and children in Jersey City, New Jersey.

A woman huddles with a child in a makeshift bomb shelter in Kyiv, Ukraine. Photograph: Emilio Morenatti/AP

4 comments on “Michael T. Young: The Spoils of War

  1. Barbara Huntington
    December 29, 2022

    Powerful. Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Saleh Razzouk
    December 29, 2022

    Sweet and soft.
    War is spoiling lives of millions across the middle east. Including the north eastern corner of Syria where American army is fighting with the Kurds for a separate zone. It happened to be the place of oil and natural gas resources. Now the rest of Syria is living in utter cold dark long days.
    Ukraine was the last circle of chain of disasters.
    I hope we can silence guns soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • miketyoung
      December 31, 2022

      Thank you, Saleh.

      Yes, indeed, I too hope the guns can be silenced soon.

      Liked by 1 person

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