Liliya of Mariupol
Don’t Forget Me
written by: LadyLily
Standing, still, in muffled silence I humbly stare,
Encased in a world of pewter fog.
I am Liliya.
My tenth birthday cards fly down our street
From the smouldering void where our flat used to be.
My friends scoop snow from shrapnel’d puddles,
The baker waves, weeping, punctures sobbing scarlet…
His shop has disappeared.
I travel on through this life of new confusion,
No sun to laugh with today. I had to leave my Babusya, *
Too frail to leave her home of shadows.
Last night even the Moon wept in secret
As I found shelter under a concrete stairwell,
Sharing a cardboard bed with little Bohdan and his Mama.
Outside dew falls on the forehead of a soldier with only half a face,
Still holding his rifle, frozen in shell dust. It is Maxim,
He always teased us at the sweetshop on school mornings
When the air was laden with aromas of cumin, mint, and anise.
The Mariupol Sea squirms under a saffron coin,
Uneasy about carrying Russian ships of death.
Bleeding wounds scab as hope, the key of freedom, falters.
Swallows still weave darkness into night, longing for the lost,
As loved ones whisper in their sleep.
In once jovial corners only cups of embers smoulder.
My still Mama’s long, jet hair moves, puma-like in slow motion
As the volunteer heroes carry her away.
Her winter Jasmine chain now a poisonous asp.
Poppy plasma sprays through ghost-grey gusts.
Many cry out. ‘Recoil to your Devil’s Den!’
My country swarms through a haze of bleak snow.
Even though we bear no weapons
In each soul there is always a warrior fighting for
Our sweet breath of life
and the precious possession of our heartbeat.
One day we will frighten away the worry,
the War, the dreadful nights, to return home.
I clutch Bohdan’s tiny hand
As we board the Poland train.
* Babusya – grandma.
- Earth Trials - April 22, 2023
- Flowers Do Die… - January 26, 2023
- The Red Rose - August 28, 2022