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from the March 2022 issue

There’s No Getting Out

In Kyiv, Ukrainian poet Olga Bragina speaks of loss and the impossibility of escape.


there’s no getting out of here since it’s too close to shoot war after peace to grope for your body
among those like us expelled from all universities of historical truth tempered in the ashes of meanings here take this heart as proof that life doesn’t pass just like that
there’s no getting out of here because children draw autumn fruit on the whitewashed walls
awesome sheets of thought superstructure and base here’s where the light missile will hit warm rays as though it were still spring like it was
there’s no getting out since the light sketched in the flesh and blood of shadows the war will end sometime and then where will you go
peace doesn’t exist what is that anyway it’s mallow flowers that little pill was brought up by a wolf a toxic setting there will be another city here
happy people will walk out of their houses keep count on the canvas how many of us are left
it’s almost love for all that could be lost for all that lasts only a day like a butterfly psyche the soul
there’s no getting out of here trapped by the world peering through a microscope where’s the most interesting place to stab this needle to squirm in the solution the body floats after the water the soul collects these drawings because it’s too small to protect the world it’s war with yourself because we’ve been sliced in half
we won’t recognize this city anymore and don’t look into your eyes it’s a trick mirror you haven’t existed yet there on the other side of the curtain there’s a world a warm spring october
something pulsates beneath the skin what is it but a touch like blood from the heart that should still be alive otherwise where will you go now after peace
and i’ll learn to draw so it can all come true

© Olga Bragina. By arrangement with the author. Translated from Ukrainian into Russian by Vladimir Korkunov. Translation copyright 2022 by Elina Alter. All rights reserved.

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