In the amber country of my ancestors,
A craftsman carved a seven-welled pine pill box
For all my days of illness. Atop the lid
Fly calandra larks he engraved before nights
Of rockets and phosphorous, before buildings
On fire stood like sentinels, then vanished.
I live a wide ocean away, safe – never
Having knelt in Mariupol’s cracked cellars,
Nor impelled to chew raw grain and swallow snow.
So, I kill quiet hours tracing birds with
Fingertips, and I know falling limbs on tile,
Damp hands, dull pulse. My duelist lies within –
These wood-chiseled larks, a fleeting rosary.
In the old country, the craftsman writes to say
We will prevail, and the maimed sky bellows.
Veronica Ashenhurst’s poems have appeared in Breath & Shadow, Literary Yard, Uppagus, and Wordgathering. She is a member of the Law Society of Ontario, in Canada, and has published articles on legal education in the Dalhousie Law Journal, the Ottawa Law Review, and the Canadian Legal Education Annual Review. She lives with severe Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS).