[someone stands between you and death-but]

by Halyna Kruk

someone stands between you and death — but
who knows how much more my heart can stand —
where you are, it’s so important
someone prays for you
even with their own words
even if they don’t clasp their hands and kneel

plucking the stems off strawberries from the garden
I recall how I scolded you when you were small
for squashing the berries before they ripened

my heart whispers: Death, he hasn’t ripened yet
he’s still green, nothing in his life has been
sweeter than unwashed strawberries
I beg you: oh God, don’t place him at the front,
please don’t rain rockets down on him, oh God,
I don’t even know what a rocket looks like,
my son, I can’t picture the war even to myself

Translated from the Ukrainian by Sibelan Forrester

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