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“The body remembers” by Krystia Nora (March 2022)

Author: Krystia Nora

Nora, Krystia. “Krystia Nora: Painting a Picture of Family, War, and the Hope for a Free Ukraine with Poetry.” The Milwaukee Independent, 6 Mar. 2022, http://www.milwaukeeindependent.com/articles/krystia-nora-painting-picture-family-war-hope-free-ukraine-poetry/.


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“The body remembers” by Krystia Nora

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The sirens cry.
I feel them.
Eighty years ago,
echoes from before.
Generations of family
shelter underground.

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Thought of new loss
echoes old losses,
sears my body.

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* * *

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My grandfather walked
home after Soviet soldiers
took Lviv – ravaged universities
to shoot or recruit –
his family’s letter in his pocket
announcing his brothers
murdered
for fighting for freedom,
part of the earth again.

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Family told him not to return,
to continue studies, to give
the world
his incredible gifts.
They fought for him
and a free Ukraine.

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He, determined to make
loss have meaning,
reluctantly
turned around
walked to Austria
walked to Belgium
felt the ocean under his feet

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to seed the world with his family’s,
his homeland’s
blood, intelligence, spirit.

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Feet meet the ground
entwine –
we leave traces
of ourselves
wherever we are.

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His mother died forced to walk
to Siberia, sick –
sons lost,
home seized –
all for the crime of wanting
freedom.

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Her daughter walked
home after escape.
Neighbors raised her.

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* * *

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Not quite a century later
I met her granddaughter
my cousin
my friend
my blood restored.

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Three days ago and daily since,
my family and
scores of Ukrainians
bunker down,
will not leave home,
believe in the strength,
the rightness of a modern country
fighting for freedom.

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The earth remembers
our feet walking
our hands tending,
remembers our pain, our love,
keeps our blood
memories
safe
for generations
walking and standing for freedom
crying out to an air
we share screaming
for freedom.

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Stitched scars leave marks –
a testament to healing.

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We are a peaceful people
who want nothing of war
who let go of the third largest nuclear arsenal
because we have had too much of war.
We walk, stand, fight for peace
month after month
century after century
on earth frozen, on earth springing,
even on earth irradiated.

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All for peace and freedom.

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DMU Timestamp: March 22, 2022 23:52

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Mar 30
Fred M (Mar 30 2022 12:28AM) : What a beautifully literal and yet oblique story of history and our current hell. more

What a beautifully literal and yet oblique story of history and our current hell. This is such a heart-wrenching piece of work because of the family depth and detail, and the slow steady pace one must take to walk, to keep walking, on and on, through such horror.

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