Carpathian browns and grayling finning far
from missile strikes and tank blasts,
just a goat trail to a pine shack, old Boris
and his pet bear. I fed the bear apples while Boris
snipped greasy fur for streamer wings his gypsy wife
cinched with silk.
River voices, chickens, your leaky leather accordion,
sometimes gunshots — Don’t worry, you’d laugh.
Only Dmitry shooting wild pig. Gutted before us
and roasted in the yard — svynyna with yellow pickles
and moonshine. No Internet, riding horses
to the bosky banks, fish rising all morning.
Let’s pray it’s over soon, you text. Your room will be ready.
You and Nina okay? Okay now, but many refugees
at dairy farm — crying mothers, little girls petting a calf.
There was that plunging blue pool behind the barn
where I flipped a midge to a whopping, orange-spotted trout
that changed my life, or so I thought.