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Monday, March 07, 2022


by Anastasia Vassos

People with children from Okhmatdyt Children’s Hospital in Kyiv board an evacuation train to Lviv. Reuters photo via The Independent, March 8, 2022

The sun shines through the Venetian blinds
that guard the window, drops splendor
onto the dining room table where I write.
The linen closet upstairs needs organizing.
My husband turns on the radio
and instead of listening to news of the war
he puts on music to paint by—the scene of the Maine sunset
he took a photo of last summer. My phone lights up,
it’s Kristin in Kalamazoo, texting me
that her daughter-in-law’s parents
have fled Kyiv to Zanzibar, that the children’s hospital
where Natasha saved other lives has been bombed.
She’s trying to find a flight for them to the US.
This small world verging on world war
when we thought world wars no longer possible.
I pick up the phone to call Kristin, she tells me
her daughter-in-law wept last night for her parents.
For their safety. Almost sadder than death.
I want to believe there is life after death,
that the good guys will win. The sun has shifted and detonates through
the south-facing window, this last day of February ending.
The blasts in that faraway country do not discriminate.
It could be us, it might be us: civilians under siege sleeping in subway stations,
children going hungry. Here, the sun keeps bombing.
Here’s what I want you to know: the sun, as I sit
directly facing the window, explodes into my eyes as it sets.
If I move my head I won’t be blinded.

Anastasia Vassos is the author of Nike Adjusting Her Sandal (Nixes Mate, 2021).  Her chapbook The Lesser-Known Riddle of the Sphinx was a finalist in Two Sylvias 2021 Chapbook Contest. Her poems appear in Thrush, RHINO, SWWIM, and elsewhere. She is a reader for Lily Poetry Review, speaks three languages, and rides her bicycle to raise money for stem cell research.