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The Weakest of Children

Holodomor, Ukraine, 1932-1933


What part of another’s flesh
do you ask permission

for your body to be freed
from hunger the way

blood frees itself
from frozen earth,

in spring, when rain comes
to wash everything.

Quietly a river refuses
to disappear into ground,

knowing it owes its mouth
to no one—

It runs instead
to the sea.  How many words

need to be strung together
to be called history—

We promised to waste nothing,
thank whatever God understood.

How many of the weakest
do you try to call back—

so many rising
in the dark sky.


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