Every war has its own shape,
Its own trajectory, even when it
Occurs on territory pockmarked
By prior conflicts.
Crimea, the Donbas,
All have seen much carnage
Through the ages.
Those of us who’ve
Viscerally known atomic horrors
Dream gingerly, if at all,
Of a bad end this time.
We listen wistfully for the
Nightingales of the current conflict.
We watch reports of the
Thousands of deaths, of the
Millions fleeing destruction.
International aid agencies
Despair as planting goes
Dormant under the tread of tanks.
Earth is resurrecting herself—
She needs seeds, not bombs.
Watchful, waiting, we
See the graves and we ask:
What will be the shape
Of the next peace?
This year, it may be March that’s the cruelest month—
Snows are melting in Ukraine, but little planting
Gets done, just more craters from more shelling.
It’s a month since Russian troops crossed the border,
Initiating what average Russians are
Forbidden to call a war.
How many more month anniversaries before
The carnage abates? How many more refugees?
How many more lives lost or displaced?
This month contains, too, my annual wedding
Anniversary, typically a happy event. I need
To remember, though, some prior years with strife,
Separation, near despair at mending
Online sources’ lists of global notable
March 24 events show the date
With a mixed record: the Exxon Valdez
Oil spill in 1989, Bhutan’s first democratic
Parliamentary elections in 2008.
Lest we forget, anniversaries can mark
Both triumphs and disasters–
We cannot relive the former.
With luck and skill, we can avoid
Perpetually reliving the latter.