we carry our dead like children
lay them out in the plaza and encircle them

in the frost  the snow  bewildered
as if none of us yet knew
it was so easy to die

everyone still hopes
they will lie there and then get up

for what should we tell their moms
what to tell their children
who will tell them the worst

a person runs to meet a bullet
with a wooden shield
and a hot heart
and a head in a ski helmet
full of blood

mom, I’ve got my hat on   he shouts into a dead phone
mom, his hat is too thin   the bullet hisses

Halyna Kruk (Author) / Dzvinia Orlowsky and Ali Kinsella (Translators)

Halyna is a Ukrainian writer, translator, educator, literary critic, and former vice president of PEN Ukraine. She was born in Lviv, Ukraine and was educated at the University of Lviv, earning a Ph.D. in Ukrainian literature in 2001. She is a professor of literary studies at the university, where she focuses on medieval literature in Ukraine. Her first two collections of poetry, Mandry u Poshukakh Domu (Journeys in Search of Home) and Slidy na Pisku (Footprints on Sand), were published in 1997. She also writes poetry and fiction for children. In 1996-97, she won the literary competitions Ptyvitannia Zhyttia and Granoslov. In 2003, she was awarded the Gaude Polonia Fellowship by the Polish Ministry of Culture. In the same year, she won the Step by Step international competition for children’s books. She has participated in the Baltic Centre for Writers and Translators’ program.

Dzvinia is a Pushcart prize poet, an award-winning translator, and a founding editor of Four Way Books. She’s published six poetry collections including A Handful of Bees, reprinted for the Carnegie Mellon University Classic Contemporary Series; Convertible Night, Flurry of Stones, winner of a Sheila Motton Book Award; and Bad Harvest, a 2019 Massachusetts Book Awards “Must Read” in Poetry. Her poem sequence “The (Dis)enchanted Desna” was selected by Robert Pinsky as a 2019 winner of the New England Poetry Club Samuel Washington Allen Prize. Her co-translations with Ali Kinsella from the Ukrainian of Natalka Bilotserkivets’s poems, Eccentric Days of Hope and Sorrow, was published by Lost Horse Press in 2021 and is short-listed for the 2022 Griffin Poetry Prize.

Ali has been translating from Ukrainian for nine years. Her published works include essays, poetry, monographs, and subtitles to various films. With Ostap Kin she translated Vasyl Lozynsky’s chapbook The Maidan After Hours (2017). She won the 2019 Kovaliv Fund Prize for her translation of Taras Prokhasko’s Anna’s Other Days. She holds an MA in Slavic studies from Columbia University, where she focused on Eastern European history and literature. A former Peace Corps volunteer, Ali lived in both Western and Central Ukraine for nearly five years. She now lives in Chicago, where she also sometimes works as a baker.

Share This