Ukrainian Now

The streets of Chernihiv in the morning after daylight savings time, and days of rain,
the corner where I kissed a stranger on the cheek smells of pepper.
The pooled water on the cobblestones shows the city turned upside down
and four militia boys cross in front of me, all cinnamon and puddles.
Churches in every blurry distance; post-rain fog only expressionistic casing.
This day is wrapped in pretty blue and yellow ribbons, red and white patterned paper,
and I want to open it and every door I see, to: a miniature plate, a little picture of St. Catherine’s,
the window to every store strung with twigs woven into stars and hearts and little dreams.
Each day till now was only practice, today’s the first day I live here, Ukrainian now.
I’ll find the twine to wrap this day in, store it in a drawer or suitcase under the bed,
to keep it somewhere safe, so I can rub my thumb over it when I’m forgetting,
so I can sleep with it under my pillow on nights when I’m lonely.
The sun sets swiftly after four, and I don’t mind quickening my pace
to find my gate, to ride the elevator to 12, and unlock the several doors to home.
A balcony hovers above the entire city, a lone lantern floats by
on the hum of street dogs fighting below, and I know I’m where I belong;
this whole day was always waiting for me, and I found it on my own.

About the author

Originally from Virginia, Lauren McKenzie Reed has taught everything from Composition to Creative Writing, and Grammar to ESL Poetry electives. In addition to teaching…

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Issue 20 · May 2014

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