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Wednesday, March 30, 2022


by Suzanne Morris

Top photo: ‘Things Will Only Get Worse.’ Putin’s War Sends Russians Into Exile. —The New York Times, March 13, 2022. Bottom photo: Sasha (played by Jeffrey Rockland), son of Tonya and Zhivago in the 1965 film Doctor Zhivago.

He is the only child
in the photograph–
ten, perhaps,
no more than twelve–

surrounded by a small crowd of
students and young professionals,
wearing jeans and
heavy sweaters

seated anxiously on a long couch
or straight-backed chairs
around a table
in a sunny apartment

in Istanbul

where they’ve fled,  
fearing arrest for
protesting a war
they didn’t believe in

waged by an autocrat
they all despise.
And no one is holding
a phone.

Women with long hair,
men with short, neat beards,
eyes fixed on the speaker
outside the frame–

intent as we were
on events unfolding
across the
movie screen.

The boy stands alone in the
center of the floor; and
he’s looking, too, but with
body angled away

as if the speaker had
interrupted his play.

His eyes old and serious
for one his age, he
reminds me of
Zhivago’s young son

whose life was upended
by the Russian Revolution.

How romantic it seemed:
so long ago and far away
yet the huge
Panavision screen

made it seem we were right there
living through it all when
families were forced apart
never to be together again.

The boy is right there
in the small crowd,
the speaker instructing them
on what to do now.

How to begin.

A novelist with eight published works spanning forty years, Suzanne Morris now focuses largely on writing poems. Her poetry is included in the anthology No Season for Silence—Texas Poets and Pandemic (Kallisto GAIA Press, 2020). Examples have also appeared in The Texas Poetry Assignment and The New Verse News.