A Prayer in Wartime

I will not turn

my heart away


from the people

huddled in basements

under a rain

of rockets

and artillery shells,


from the conscript

swept up in the tanks’ advance,

trying to conceal his trembling,


from his weeping parents

in St. Petersburg.


from the Fox

and the Rabbit

and the Owl

fleeing the explosions,


from the burning Birches,

from the Wheat fields,


from the young, and the old,

and the restless dead.


And if tears are my only prayer,

let them be like the tears

of the Beloved of the Mother of All


whose weeping quells the fires

of the hells we make

for each other and ourselves

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