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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.  

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