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Saturday, March 12, 2022


by Cristina M. R. Norcross

Pregnant women and children were caught in the bombing of the hospital in Mariupol. —The Mirror (UK), March 10, 2022

“Congress of Peoples for Peace" by Frida Kahlo (1952)

Debris, like ticker tape confetti,
still floats in the air, 
as the camera lens captures
a young mother’s silhouette,
protective hand holding her half-moon curve.
I spot the side of her cheek and eyebrow
dotted with streaks of blood,
where shards of glass or wood must have 
swept past her, mercifully missing 
her vulnerable nest within.
A Frida Kahlo painting appears on my screen,
while breaking news continues to drone.
Both moon and sun spheres glow on the canvas.
A tree of life, bursting with oranges,
grows before my eyes.
A mother hen sits impossibly on top,
as if keeping eggs warm on the highest branch.
The little girl’s song in the shelter 
lingers from last night, 
stays with me, as I walk through the house.
I hear her honeyed, hopeful voice 
even as I fall asleep. 
Her letting go of sound, word, voice, outcome
is the bravest note I have ever heard.
We sing ourselves into a new day,
an insistent melody
where sound itself holds the promise
of survival,
proof that beyond the bombs and tanks overhead,
rooted in the cellar of Ukraine’s earth,
is a chorus of people who believe. 


Cristina M. R. Norcross lives in Wisconsin and is the editor of Blue Heron Review. Author of 9 poetry collections, a multiple Pushcart Prize nominee, and an Eric Hoffer Book Award nominee, her most recent collection is The Sound of a Collective Pulse (Kelsay Books, 2021). Cristina’s work appears in: Visual Verse, Your Daily Poem, Poetry Hall, Verse-Virtual, The Ekphrastic Review, and Pirene’s Fountain, among others. Her work also appears in numerous print anthologies. Cristina has helped organize community art/poetry projects, has led writing workshops, and has hosted many open mic readings.  She is the co-founder of Random Acts of Poetry & Art Day.