FROM THE UNSENT, or Letters into Captivity

To my husband…

You and I write these letters to one another. Clean and clear.

About cherry stars, not cannons, tanks, or checkpoints.

About a cozy nest underneath the pines; happiness and victory.

About love. What would we do without it?

And only a bit about where you are now and how I feel without you.

We keep writing these letters, throwing them up in the sky.

We keep writing these words, dropping them into the water.

Since we don’t have any other entrance or exit…

Nor any other address — no street, no house, no town…

Rhymed voices will build a bridge between us.

Only Mars or Venus are farther from me than my addressee.

So… I kiss your forehead and leave it on paper.

a sad July, 2022

P.S. “Prisoners of war shall be allowed to send and receive letters and cards. If the Detaining Power deems it necessary to limit the number of letters and cards sent by each prisoner of war, the said number shall not be less than two letters and four cards monthly, exclusive of the capture cards […].”

Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, article 71.

Currently, the Russian Federation does not comply with these rules of the Geneva Convention.

Author — Oksana Stomina, poet, writer

Translator — Hanna Leliv

Illustrator — Victoria Boyko

Editor — Maryna Korchaka

Program Directors — Julia Ovcharenko, Demyan Om

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