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Sunday, November 27, 2022


by Therése Halscheid

A man carries water bottles as he crosses a destroyed bridge in the frontline town of Bakhmut, in eastern Ukraine's Donetsk region, on Oct. 27, 2022, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine. —VOA

He has stopped fearing the sirens, stopped running for shelter,
is now carrying a pail to a crater a Russian missile made.

The crater has filled with muddied water. 
You see him fetching a pail’s worth from the blown out earth.

See him lugging it along the road to Odessa, on the road to Odessa 
you see his back hunched, his legs barely hurrying. 

You do not see any other, only ruins and stacked tires
as well as anti-tank hedgehogs barricading the street.

I want to say to him: the wind knows your face.
It carries the look of others, it has knowledge, the wind does, 

and power enough to change his fate, want to share 
the wind is the bringer of things he cannot imagine 

it is the collector of thoughts and blows them
tirelessly about the world.

Want to say the air wears our collective consciousness
even if hardly anyone believes this can be. 

Whatever is given to the wind the wind willingly carries. 
I want to tell him: work with the wind. 

The softest touch is the finger of wind, feel its peace
at work, for it is our work, what we have been sending. 

Therése Halscheid's poetry and lyric essays have won awards and have been published in several magazines, among them The Gettysburg Review, Tampa Review, Sou’wester, South Loop. Her poetry collection Frozen Latitudes (Press 53) received an Eric Hoffer Book Award. Other collections include Uncommon Geography, Without Home, and a Pudding House Press Greatest Hits chapbook.