Crimea Quince

Collected some pine
cones, also made
quince jam

Under a woolen blanket
I paid an arm and a leg for, I hide
my other arm and leg

He writes the place is crawling
with men with guns

He writes we’re running
out of water

He writes, we aren’t leaving
We’ll wait it out in the bomb shelter

Wilting the quince
I neglected to put in sugar
not because I didn’t want to

but because I lied
to my future self

It tastes faintly bitter
like that holiday in Crimea
we once shared

before it was occupied

Oksana Maksymchuk is a bilingual Ukrainian-American poet, scholar, and literary translator. Her poetry appeared or is forthcoming in AGNIThe Irish TimesThe Paris ReviewThe Poetry Review, and other journals. In the Ukrainian, she is the author of poetry collections “Xenia”and “Lovy”and a recipient of Bohdan-Ihor Antonych and Smoloskyp prizes, two of Ukraine’s top awards for younger poets. Oksana’s translations were featured in such venues as Modern Poetry in TranslationWords Without BordersPoetry International, and Best European Fiction series from Dalkey Archive Press, while her translation of Lyuba Yakimchuk’s “Prayer” was performed by the author at the 2022 Grammy Awards Ceremony. With Max Rosochinsky, she co-edited “Words for War: New Poems from Ukraine,” an anthology of contemporary poetry, reviewed in The Times Literary Supplement and highlighted in The New York Times. Oksana won first place in the Richmond Lattimore and Joseph Brodsky-Stephen Spender translation competitions and was awarded a National Endowments for the Arts Translation Fellowship. She is the co-translator of “Apricots of Donbas”by Lyuba Yakimchuk; and “The Voices of Babyn Yar”by Marianna Kiyanovska. Oksana holds a PhD in philosophy from Northwestern University. Based in Lviv, Ukraine, she currently resides in Poland.

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