“It’s my birthday!”
I sing out to everyone.
From the lady decorating my cake,
To the man who’s slicing the meat.
“It’s a very special day,” they all echo back.
But they only smile with their lips when they look at me.
My body keeps bouncing, as though my blood has turned to sugar,
The room is a sea of pinks and greens.
Waterfalls of balloons shower me,
The gifts piled higher than the hilltops,
All addressed to me.
I love my birthday and everyone is here.
Babushka and Dedushka have made the trip.
Big Brat has been gone for so long, but here he is.
Even Titka and Dyadʹko have come to celebrate,
The dvoyuridni sestries are leading the charge.
It’s a full house, love bouncing off the walls.
The signs scream as we run underneath.
Everywhere, smiling faces,
and secrets being passed between lips about me.
More surprises? More fun?
“It’s my birthday…” I whisper in-between soft snores after the party is done.
“Happy Birthday Dochka” my мама whispers in my ear.
I tuck myself away in between my pillow and my sheet.
Outside my window, I hear sirens singing out to me,
One more song for my birthday, oh how I love being three.
I didn’t hear Bat’ky pack the car,
Full of bags and boxes not addressed to me.
Dedushka’s favourite sweaters,
Babushka’s best dresses,
And me tucked deep between the tidal wave of our things.
As I drifted off to sleep,
On our way to what Brat calls the safer place.
Belly full of sugar,
Mind full of memories…
I’m so sad we have to leave.
About the Poem
The War in Ukraine has been a major political event since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022. This poem was inspired by a New York Times article that shed light on Ukraine as it progresses into the second year of the invasion by Russia into Ukraine. Though this poem is a fictional version depicting the moments of a young Ukrainian girl spending time with her family, this experience has been felt by many. Forced to leave their homes and hold tight to the memories of what once made them happy has become a terrifying reality for many Ukrainians.
About the Author
Meghan Martin is an undergraduate student at Trent University. She is receiving a degree in English and Education and hopes to one day pursue a career where she can teach future generations about the joys of writing.