Please, a Different Ukraine

Not the fields tilled with artillery shells.
Not fire harvest, but home.
May I please have strawberries, phlox?

I will coax Grandma and Grandpa out of Hades,
take them home in their green Zhiguli.
They know how to plant healing herbs.

American soil is good for our dill.
I will sit in my yard, chew on clean,
not-so-shared air.

I will sow dead reeds, make dumplings
filled with cherries – scratch that –
smashed stars.

That’s today. Tomorrow, to find particles
of seeds, find each other, find words
for some of the lost ones.

Olga Livshin’s poetry and translations appear in the New York Times, Ploughshares, the Kenyon Review, and other journals. She is the author of A Life Replaced: Poems with Translations from Anna Akhmatova and Vladimir Gandelsman (Poets & Traitors Press, 2019). Livshin co-translated A Man Only Needs a Room, a volume of Vladimir Gandelsman’s poetry, forthcoming from New Meridian Arts Books in 2022, and Today is a Different War by the Ukrainian poet Lyudmyla Khersonska, forthcoming from Arrowsmith Press in 2023. She lives outside Philadelphia.

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