COLLATERAL DAMAGE

 

Image: A woman is visible through the condensation on a window of an evacuation train at Kyiv central train station. by Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP via Getty Images

A blast, shattered
glass, half-collapsed
shelves of buns and breads and
sweet pastries that tempt the babusya
who daily doddered by to gather the warm
scents of the wares on their way from the ovens.
One loaf, its golden crust sugared with slivers,
looks to the floor, to the crumpled apron,
the flour-white raiment darkened by
a hundred cuts of baker’s blood.
a mere trifle, a vignette
at the edge of war.

A missile from afar,
a communication tower down.
Unfortunate neighbor, a children’s
school, glass shattered, doors shuttered,
devoid of laughter, devoid of learning, a void
empty of sound save the bite of a winter’s wind
that flips the pages of deskbound books, eyeless,
uncomprehending, the students consigned to
tunnels underground, sharing the shards
of their lives with the resident rats.
In war, such a small thing this,
this collateral damage.

About the Poem

The poem is about the current invasion of Ukraine but on a larger level about war in general, about how the life of those affected is changed in ways that don’t make the news.

About the Author

The author was mentored in writing by the late William Kloefkorn. He writes sporadically and only when he has something to say.

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