What We Read About Ukraine Makes Us Dream of Burning

Sarah Carey

On the road between villages
like Mriya and Myla, whose names mean Dream

and Sweetheart in our tongue,
mothers ink their children’s backs

with family contacts: uncle, aunt, grandmother,
lest the mothers die and the children 

be found alone. Lest we forget
the address they called home.


In my dream, I am a candle
that burned all night, despite the many ways
my wick might mushroom, 

ignite. Like any good flame
I tapered, acquiescing
to my extinction.

Yet I wavered, just a little,
nestled in the candelabra’s arm,
imagining a door might open, 

and it would be you, holding an oil lamp
or a flashlight, moving toward me
just as close as you are far, 

as if you never had the earth you came from torn
from your long fingers, stolen
like the light we took for granted

or the morning—you whose heart homed
like a pigeon dispatched in the war, to carry words
we can’t speak or imagine.