Railway Station, Bendery, Moldova by Tovli Simiryan

Railway Station, Bendery, Moldova

Spring—2022, rumors of evacuation

Waiting. The trains are late.
It happens more and more.

Poetry. Reading a poem. Trains appear.
A new war. Next week, enemies will read to us.

Traveling. I can’t leave.
The Railroad clinic. Mama, their only nurse.

Post-World War II. Mama healing Moldova.
She couldn’t leave either. That’s my poem.

We pile up. That’s what we’ve learned.
One woman atop the other.

This man face-down; that child covered in mud.
A little poetry book fastened to my fist.

Unhappy. My eyes are closing.
Cyrillic letters look like graves.

People. They’re as close as birds.
They perch on my shoulders looking for food.

War? It’s not my poem.
I’m not reading it. My fist opens.

Birds scatter. They’ve eaten our language.
Like Mama, like me; they cannot leave.

Chișinău. Astonished, the birds fly away,
quarreling soldiers and their puffed-up wings.

by Tovli Simiryan

Editor’s Note: This poem’s fractured, short sentences and fragments mimic the emotional weight of disaster with sharp skillfulness until the reader can’t help but feel the implacable un-balance of reality.


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