after “We Lived Happily During the War” by Ilya Kaminsky

We sent pop guns, but not
the right kind.

We sent firehoses, but too late
to help.

In our shiny boots, we watched old people clutch cats
and chickens near
their splintered homes.

Then when Hitler’s heir ate our NATO brothers, we
fretted about World War III, waved
goodbye, while

in China, North Korea, and Iran, steely eyes
glinted. Maps rewritten in blood.

We bombed their pocketbooks.

Freedom’s buried in mass graves; we don’t
know where they are.

About the Poem

This week, President Biden said the United States will not give F-16 fighter planes to Ukraine. While no one wants to see the conflict there widen, Russia is constantly escalating, while Ukraine is constantly playing catch-up. We shouldn’t wait until it’s too late to give Ukraine what it needs. This poem is a nightmare about excessive reticence and its consequences.

About the Author

Jacqueline Coleman-Fried is an emerging writer living in Tuckahoe, NY. Her work has appeared in Topical Poetry, The Orchards Poetry Journal, Pensive, Sparks of Calliope, and pacificREVIEW.

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