A Volunteer

by Yuliia Terentieva

She wakes up early on Tuesday, feeds the cats,
She doesn’t count her spending,
She washes the clothes covered in blood and sweat,
Of those injured for independence.

One jacket after the other, candies and cigarettes,
One box, one more heartfelt letter,
She waits until the pain of the losses sets,
Worries she could have done better.

She wakes up again on Tuesday night, shaking
Evacuates her cats to the basement,
Cries for the times without the blood, the shelling,
The permanent sense of displacement.

She knows she has to work, and pack, and live faster,
Counts her sorrows;
She goes back to bed knowing there will be another disasters,
To deal with tomorrow.

Reproduced with kind permission of the author. This poem was composed in a Poetry as Commemoration workshop held as part of UCD Festival on June 10th 2023.  The workshop was led by writer Catherine Ann Cullen.