Cat in the window
examines the snowflakes that float—
marks of art in the winter dark
It’s a Christmas Eve in my homeland
the things to come
waiting to be unwrapped like a gift under the tree
in a house with a roof
not yet stuffed with snow
through the openings still posing as
I remember the poet who wrote
of a missile
entering his home
For him in Donbas
all the newness of war is over
Vasya the cat in his lap
licks his face
just like it used to
Mom gets ready for work in the kissel-blue
glow of dawn while he reads
verses of Mandelstam
in a room
they patched up with
foam, scotch tape & cardboard
How he dreamt of becoming the Minister of
Culture in the new state, orchestrating
massive screenings of Eisenstein!
His defenders said: No use for culture now!
Better take this gun!
Fatten up the Motherland on some blood!
It’s all over for him—
the wait, the uncertainty—
What will become of me?
Just the beginning for us
Oksana Maksymchuk is the author of poetry collections Xenia and Lovy in Ukrainian. Her English-language poems have appeared in AGNI, The Irish Times, The Paris Review, The Poetry Review, and many other journals. She co-edited Words for War: New Poems from Ukraine, an award-winning anthology of contemporary Ukrainian writing.