Softly Softly

And when we come we won’t come softly

That’s a warning from the Russian military.
That’s a warning from any one strong enough

to offer a bright orange carrot and drive
a big tank with a cannon on its nose
aimed at all the lonely Ukrainian people.
The machine gun culls the weak from the dead.

It’s war. Natch. The players have been given their roles.
The nasty feral-eyed evil-spouting Putin

to play the nasty feral-eyed evil spouting Putin.
The Panda Bear-like doe-eyed Zelenskyy
to play himself everywhere.The long
lines of refugees, heading to Poland.

The newly subscripted fighters for Ukraine,
with guns and Molotov cocktails. Babies,

young children play turtles in the shelters.
All play themselves to a tee.
There is nothing like a war to make us wary,
warlike and worried. And the mole rat

who has spent the last 50 years hatching
his desperate scheme of empire warns of

nuclear bombs just to make the world
reset their antennae. We are watching
a madman who doesn’t give a fig or leaf
for anyone other than himself. A madman.

Just when we thought we were rid of them another
emerges from deep in the dark dark hole.

Not so softly not so softly.
Tanks rumble in Kyiv by the hundreds.
Kill 10 people here 10 people there.

I scream at grackles who fill my skies, then flee,
pay no attention to little birds who scatter —

but just for a short while —
I put seed out for them. They will return.

— Fan Ogilvie