REFUGEES

THE PAIN IN UKRAINE: A REMINDER OF TERROR AND THE PLIGHT OF REFUGEES IN AFRICA

It doesn’t have to be this way.

from Ukraine to people all over the world 

 

Once more we tilt

hack our own axis

drag our scarecrows in

to take a seat by this winter’s fire.

 

As the sky falls apart

we watch

talking heads report

on repeat

on shellings, on shelters

on exit wounds.

 

A girl

a sinking rock in an unraveled mother’s arms

clutches a jack-in-the-box of dreams

we know it’ll explode, we just can’t say when

and she’s already forgetful

of what it means

to be soft.

 

A father

on buckled knees, shows up with his bravest smile:

When we meet again, my sweet

when the sirens are silenced 

and I kiss your cheek goodnight

I promise we’ll shine brighter than bombs.

 

How many men have we seen

unable and unwilling to flee

bleed dignity in defense of their home?

How many bare-knuckled grandmothers

have we watched step up to the ring?

 

In my alternative end

every soldier hears

the nearest human heart

no matter whose side of the wire it appears

pulsing with hope

chiming for chance

and refuses

to fight.

 

Trading gun for spade

they break the frozen ground

rip the dark roots out

graft sun onto shade

and flood trenches

with birds of paradise.

The borders they sow

are meadows

of yellow and blue miracles.

 

There’s no difference

in the labour required

to kill or to plough

it’s just what

we choose

to put in the ground.

Kate Fenwick

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