For Ukraine ~ Gina Puorro

For Ukraine

There is no place in my body
no nerve in my system
no string in my heart
no corner of my mind
that knows how to make sense of war.

I’m thinking about a mother giving birth
to the sound of planes ripping the sky open
the pain contracting through her body
the fear flowing from breast to mouth
the shock waves that spark from one nervous system to the other
because a man chose to feed hungry ghosts with blood.

I wonder how the land feels
when it did not consent to bombs on its soil
and if it can find any way
to make something generative
from the kind of death that calls men of a certain age
to be soldiers in a battle they never wanted.

I wonder how the wind feels
about carrying both screams and prayers
on the same breeze
and if either will ever truly be heard
or find a safe place to land.

I wonder what it must feel like
to have to pack up your whole life
and run from the ancestral lands
where your grandmother’s grandmother prayed
and try to find home
in any place where sunflowers don’t have roots.

I don’t understand any of it
but I know what it feels like in my body
and I feel the way so many of us are collapsing
into the pain of knowing how haunted we all are
and the ways we keep hurting each other
and not knowing what to do
but maybe we can all just slow down a little.
Just enough so we can stay with the trouble
stay in our bodies
stay connected to each other
be gentle with ourselves
keep our hearts open
expand and contract
through grief and rage
through tenderness and care
through falling apart and mending
again and again.

I am the mother
I am the child
I am the soldier
I am the land
I am the wind
I am the the prayers of grandmothers
carried on the breeze
and they remind me
that this is not so far away
and we are not so far apart.

Gina Puorro
February 26, 2022