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poetry Once

Chicago poet Donna Pucciani depicts Ukraine’s struggle through the colors of its flag and the grief of domestic details.


By Donna Pucciani

yellow meant sun,

the morning’s monacle of day,

the way dawn becomes noon

in the dahlia’s summer way,

the way a child’s face

greets the cosmic existence

of being, the opposition

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to the inevitability of death.

And blue meant sky,

that canopy of clarity,

freedom from rain

or the wide dunes of snowfall

that mound terra firma with odd

hills. Blue is the sky

the day after blizzards. Blue

means Mondays, melancholy

drawn into a vortex of sad birds

and windows empty of all

but one’s own face, and yet,

the blue in a baby’s eyes,

if only temporary, blesses

the blue orb of earth

with its noncommittal turning.

Now sun and sky

color a flag hanging in ribbons

over televised rubble

and babies’ bloodless faces.

Our blue globe of world

stops for a moment,

wordless, trembling amid

the bombs. Blue with cold,

the fingers of mothers hold

their children close, in the last

yellow dress rescued from

a closet in a bedroom painted

lemon, in a house that once

had walls of powder blue.

Donna Pucciani, a Chicago-based writer, has published poetry worldwide in Shi Chao Poetry, Poetry Salzburg, The Pedestal, Journal of Italian Translation, and other journals. Her latest book of poetry is EDGES.