Larysa Loves Panas Forever in Ukraine

When a Song Explodes
    [I haven’t chosen a final title]

Some in the bomb shelter say
Larysa is delusional because
she says her baby Lyudmyla
wants to hear her father
sing her to sleep
one last time, and
play his cello for her
because she will be a musician
and in happy times in the womb
heard a mellow cello of love

We are all warriors she says
and Panas needs me
to love his every song, to feel
my hands on his heart strings
to pluck his every note until
we sing a melody of peace

Some in the bomb shelter say
Larysa is delusional, and
she should stay to protect her baby.

When a cello plays itself,
it is the music of agony.

The street musician Panas
stood on a corner
holding a gun

A tank came within inches of his face.
A driver opened the hatch but
didn’t see him.

A rocket hit the corner, but
Panas propped up his cello
and it played “My Love Is Near.”

Larysa, his wife, and
Lyudmyla, his child,
ran out from
the bomb shelter
to hear.

Pavel, a Russian saboteur
saw the two, aimed
and shot them dead.

When Panas touched the bow
all the strings flew off and wrapped
around Pavel’s neck

Even today,
the cello still plays itself
in the middle of a fountain of tears
and a headless body wanders aimlessly
for the amusement of the mourners.

But Lyudmyla
still cries like a
baby ghost of war
who wants to hear
her father’s cello.