Half a World Away

By Tina Williams of Mazomanie

He gets ready for work
amid a tumble of toddlers,
with a kiss for each
and one for his wife
he walks into the day.
He takes their smiles and babbles with him,
the memory of their smell close by.
He smiles and knows he is rich.

Half a world away
he and his wife hurry to pack backpacks,
one per child and one for his wife.
To hurry hurry to catch the train.
At the station the crowds are staggering.
He pushes his way though
to get his family on
to get his family out.
They say goodbye with kisses and hugs and promises
to stay safe, to take care and to remember
I love you forever.
They get on the train
the children cry
the mother tries not to,
the father stays behind.
He must stay
to defend his country.
He needs to buy a rifle.

Half a world away
she pushes her children on the swing
they all join in singing silly songs.
Robins cheep as they search for worms.
The elderly couple next door
go off on their daily walk and coffee.
The sun shines on an ordinary day
and she is grateful for her life.

Half a world away
people take shelter in underground stations,
children clinging to mothers.
Even down below the sound of guns
and the sound of rolling tanks
warn of a clear and present danger.
People run not knowing where to go
not knowing what tomorrow will bring.
Children hold tight to grownup hands
and hold stuffed animals close.

Half a world away
she settles the children down for a nap,
rubbing their backs she breathes in their breath.
Tired from play they are soon asleep.
She goes downstairs the news is on
she watches and tries to look away
it breaks her heart.
She sits down and takes off her glasses,
closes her eyes and the tears come.
She cries for the families torn apart,
mothers and children on trains to who knows where?
Fathers left behind.
Everyday lives now just rubble.
She prays for all of these.
She prays for Ukraine.

Photo “Pond Reflections en Route from Arena to Mazomanie” by Robert Kratchowill of Dodgeville