The youngest know.

They know boot crunch from tank whir, missile whistle from rocket whine.

They can count seconds to boom and brazen light bursts, the broken nights.

They can nod off to anthems, echoed tunnel cries, or blast-bitten lullabies.


They can draw it all.

There’s the house as it stood where it stood when it stood. There’s the tree.

There’s grandpa’s face in the house window and papa’s face in the bus window.

There’s the dog that didn’t come out of the rubble. There’s his empty leash.


They know the colors of blood on flags and sunflowers,
just the right blue, the right yellow, the right red.

​On this World Poetry Day 2022, all my words are for the brave, brave, children of Ukraine.