Kyiv. March 27, 2022

After the Victory, someone will have to talk. It won’t be me. I don’t want to talk after the Victory, and I won’t be able to. I want it to be quiet so I could hear the wind, the grass, the tip-tap of cat’s predatory steps in the yard. No voice of mine, No voice of yours, no voice of anyone else. Quiet… No words or sounds shall drown out “that which does not die.”

But someone will have to talk. It will be a sacred duty, just like fighting on the frontlines, volunteering, or treating the wounded in hospitals. With their speeches, interviews, and reports, those able to talk will give others a chance to catch the whisper of those who are gone.

Catch their whisper, their smell, their taste, the cold or the warmth of their hands. Somewhere here. It all will exist somewhere, mixed with air, leaves, water, perfumes, petrol, coffee, and Easter bread. Somewhere here, next to my hand and my ear that won’t hear anything but them.

It will not be in the dreams, or rather, not only in them. I want it to be a miracle come true. I want it to be everywhere at the same time, so everyone could recognize it. A miracle with a rolling ‘r,’ a stutter, or operatic voice — tenor, soprano, or bass.

We will recognize their voices amid our silence, and our clenched jaws will then relax and perhaps let a few words out. Or maybe not. I don’t want to talk, and I won’t. I will keep searching, waiting, and listening. And I won’t talk until I find them.

Author — Olena Stiazhkina, historian, writer

Translator — Hanna Leliv

Illustrator — Victoria Boyko

Editor — Maryna Korchaka

Program Directors — Julia Ovcharenko, Demyan Om

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