Poem of the Week: Cherry Orchard

A new poem by Oksana Maksymchuk

Oksana Maksymchuk, poet
A poet on the other side
of the war
writes: brothers and sisters fly up
into immortality

Was it years or days ago
that we read our poems
in an underground gallery
surrounded by feminist art
to an audience of teenagers?

Drunk on wine
by the fountain in city square
we laughed so hard
that a window opened
and a woman in a nightgown
shook both her fists at us!

Time to go, poetesses
you said, and we shared a kiss
that could land us in prison
in Mordovia

Now we each have a cellar
in which to hide from
bombs & aerial strikes

I wonder what supplies
you stocked up on

Are they the same as mine?

On your Facebook profile
a slogan: “Motherland is
everything, everything else is -

I scroll through your timeline,
popping open
the jar of jam I’d been saving for
a rainy day

a gift from your hometown
no longer a place but
a name
on a map, a ridge of rubble

Oksana Maksymchuk is a Ukrainian American poet whose collections include Xenia and Lovy. She is co-editor of Words for War: New Poems from Ukraine, and co-translator of Apricots of Donbas, the selected poems of Lyuba Yakimchuk whose poem, "Prayer" was performed by the author at the 2022 Grammy Award Ceremony. She lives in Lviv, Ukraine