( Somewhere outside of Kiev)
The streets are quiet. Daylight rests
on a mattress of sandbags. A girl
looks through her apartment window
at the gray truce . The forecast indicates
no sudden change.
Rain clusters on the glass
and her red hair lends color
to some of the drops. She waves
to a woman coming up the steps
with a bag of groceries. The mother acknowledges
her child's greeting , the young bloom
within a splintered frame -- and remembers
there are still Kalyna bushes
rooted in the park; their berries will ripen and spread.__________________________________________________________
Kalyna is the Slavic term for high cranberry bush. This tree and its fruit are a central part of Urkranian myth and culture. They symbolize the blood of life and are associated with mystical powers/medicinal properties that heal the soul and mend the body. The Kalyna is also seen as a spiritual presence that unifies and offers immortality to those who believe in its history and magic. It is a connective and revitalizing force between the worlds of the living and the dead.