Op/Ed Poetry

Letter to the editor: Sing, Etzuri — a poem with Ukrainian roots

Like you, I have a name behind

my name.

Scratched inside my throat.

 

Written in a burning book,

in a burning desk.

In a village outside

 

Kyiv.

A girl, my grandmother slept

on a mantel there

 

with her mother’s rising

bread. Until she escaped

her name.

 

Had it traded in

on a sequestered boat,

Waiting in a harbor

 

here. For the smoke

to let her in.

For the name she burned

 

for me

inside my throat.

My twice-named Nana,

 

Who used to pinch

my cheeks.

When she wanted to see

 

the blood

turn a boy’s face pink.

To give them color,

 

she said. Like the poppies

exploding

in her backyard.

 

She wove into a girl’s

crown. She left

for me to wear, too.

 

Inside my tongue-

twisting real name.

I give to you.

 

To sing with me.

On this Day of Burning.

Sing, Etzuri.

Gary Margolis

Cornwall

 

 

 

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