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poetry One Year Later

On the anniversary of the war, Ukrainian-born poet Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach appeals for public attention of the crisis in her homeland.

One Year Later

By Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach

It’s easy to look away from war

when your wallet’s empty and sink is full,

when the land and people aren’t yours,


when your children scream for more

of you, when your body’s pulled,

it’s easy to look away from war.

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The soil across the water to earth’s core

brims blood, but look, the sunflowers still bloom

when the land and people aren’t yours.


So, you focus on the daily chores,

dig out a trench of laundry—linens, wools—

it’s easy to look away from war


with the dog barking, mailman at the door.

Your children speak a stranger’s tongue at school,

the land and people aren’t yours.


How does a house become a shore

no news can reach? Are we that cruel?

Or is it just that easy to look away from war

when the land and people aren’t yours?

Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach ( emigrated from Dnipro, Ukraine as a Jewish refugee when she was six years old. She is the author of three poetry collections: The Many Names for Mother, Don't Touch the Bones, and 40 WEEKS (YesYes Books, 2023). Her recent poems have appeared in POETRY, Ploughshares, American Poetry Review, and AGNI, among others. She holds an MFA from the University of Oregon and a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory from the University of Pennsylvania. Her dissertation, Lyric Witness: Intergenerational (Re)collection of the Holocaust in Contemporary American Poetry, pays particular attention to the underrepresented atrocity in the former Soviet territories. Julia is the author of the model poem for "Dear Ukraine": A Global Community Poem She is the Murphy Fellow and Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Hendrix College and starting next fall, she will be the Assistant Professor of Poetry at Denison University, and relocate with her family to Columbus, Ohio.