"...To the Last Ukrainian"


"…To the Last Ukrainian"
By Ellen Taylor
Beat, but bivouacked, tonight
The newsflash tells us once again
America will make us fight
To the last Ukrainian.

We light our Lucky Strikes, and joke
And chew on this philosophy
And argue who, through rings of smoke,
This last Ukrainian will be. 

Basil says it won’t be him
For, through his nightmares, shells, and soot,
Comes fatal Baba Yaga, grim
Upon her tub and chicken foot.

Lev talks of ancient battles here:
His forebears fought the Golden Horde.
He’ll die in Donetsk, conscience-clear
(But, in his mind, fight with a sword.) 

Oleg barks with bitter satire
"We’ll be desert, like Iraq!"
He burned in the Odessa fire:
No one gives him any flak.

We fantasize a lottery,
A sort of “Last Ukrainian” game:
As, from bright Kosiv pottery
A hand draws out the lucky name, 

And NATO and America
Pour glory on this fellow’s head
And mouth stock esoterica
While he peers round at all the dead. 

We conclude some Artificial
Rogue Intelligence assigns
It, and we might as well go whistle.
Moonlight mocks our battle lines.

Ellen Taylor has lived at the north end of the Lost Coast in Humboldt County California. She practiced as a Physician Assistant for 35 years in rural clinics. She has a ranch with sheep, goats and cows which she manages with her partner. She is originally from the East Coast and attended the Nuremberg trials at a young age with her father who functioned at Chief prosecutor for the American trials.