Author: Lowry Pei

Three Ukraine War Poems

Here are three new poems about the war in Ukraine by Lowry Pei. They can be read together with the Ukraine poems by Pei already published in “That Day” and “Please Answer Now” .  Or maybe they shouldn’t. It might be hard to go about your daily business.    July in the Ruined Courtyard after a photograph for the New York Times by Emile Ducke The benches are still there where parents watched children on swings that are still there too the swing set is leaning now, its knees bent to slow its fall insects hum in the...

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Please Answer Now

after a photograph by Tyler Hicks for the New York Times   When I got home from work, the cat that lives in our building wound itself around my ankles I was about to go in and call Olena the sky exploded over my head how did it not kill me that burning apartment is mine was mine goodbye the distance between enough and nothing can be traveled in an instant only lucky people say less is more right now my books are burning my clothes, the new winter coat Olena convinced me to buy the blankets are burning...

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That Day

after a photograph by David Guttenfelder for the New York Times That girl in the photo, that’s me. No, not that one – the little one huddled on the back seat of the car. Where they’ve stopped there’s no shade the car’s doors are open little girl me is only wearing shorts – that tells you how hot it must have been. I don’t remember it, there are many things I can’t remember I don’t know why, but I can guess. You can see how her sisters, my sisters, are so dying of boredom – like, when will these...

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Despite Everything

  The men left the house in the early morning the young men, and even some of the old I was a child then, I stayed home among the children and women, but one, only one of the women left. I was there in the courtyard with the other children and the laundry and the smell of chickens roasting for the dinner we did not know if they would ever eat but still we had to roast the chickens and wash the sheets and get everything ready for survival or death. That one woman was not my mother but...

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This note pushed through the mail slot      Hey guess what! You’ve died.      I forgot to tell you.      Congratulations on passing over. we all have weird days sometimes I went around the house looking for evidence of my death books missing from the shelves, my closet empty of clothes boxes in the hall marked Give Away now my wife could throw out the letters I saved for decades and never read again the boxes of manuscripts, the negatives and contact sheets of my youth to say nothing of the thoughts that still floated in...

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