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Sunday, March 20, 2022


by Devon Balwit

Bandaged and bloodied, a mum nurses the baby she saved from Russian shellfire by shielding the tot with her own body. Brave Olga—badly injured by shrapnel in Putin’s blitz on Kyiv—cradles her month-old child as a man thought to be her partner comforts them. Amazingly, the baby was believed to be unhurt thanks to the quick-thinking courage of its Ukrainian mother. The two were being cared for yesterday at Kyiv’s Ohmatdyt children’s hospital. Journalist Anastasiia Lapatina, who works on English-language newspaper the Kyiv Independent, said the baby was well. —The U.S. Sun, March 19, 2022. See also story at Infobae.

Ratatatat—no bullets—just a flicker
making a morning ruckus on a chimney cap.
History is happening elsewhere. There
people breathe its stink, tweeze its shrapnel
from their skin, like the bloodied mother nursing her baby
on a hospital gurney. Even the old poet
has refugees blanketing his living room and library.
Post-barrage, survivors salvage what
they can. Each moment presents its immediate problem
to be solved—more life always the answer.
Here, the flicker quiets in slanted columns
of rain so gentle that not even the leaves flutter.
As in a fairy tale, I fight ensorcellment,
straining towards that distant bombardment.

Devon Balwit walks in all weather. Her most recent collections are Rubbing Shoulders with the Greats [Seven Kitchens Press 2020] and Dog-Walking in the Shadow of Pyongyang [Nixes Mate Books, 2021].