I love the heft of a pick,
iron weight I slam to earth,
feel the thud, see the rift
in clay still cold but ready
to turn, amend, furrow, and fill
with blue salvia, yellow marigolds,
colors for the Bucha starushka
in a green coat, pictured in the Times.
Hand clapped over her mouth,
she stands in her garden staring
at corpses, dead men she knew
and now must plant. What might grow
from Kyiv’s pits and trenches,
worm through rubbles of hollowed houses,
spread like bittersweet, perhaps choke out
hope that yet holds on, a thin and brittle vine?