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KIEV, 2022 

She'd had to leave her graying mother
whimpering in the basement,
withered hands clutching a worn
plaid blanket to her chin.
She'd heard there were women learning to shoot,
had to do something,
not just cower with panic-stricken wives, mothers
and children sheltering there in sleeping bags,
petrified with every ear-shattering bomb blast.
praying for their sons and husbands.

The battered apartment walls shuddered again—
another brutal blast down the street.
Tossing back her honey-colored braid,
she grabbed the cool neck of another glass bottle,
wished again it was the warm, throbbing neck
of a Russian invader.

Taking action so alien to her as an artist,
she dribbled sugar into the gasoline
to make the flames adhere longer,
grabbed a funnel,
filled the incendiary bottle,
yanked a knot into a length of dirty rag,
jammed it in the bottle.
stacked the Molotov cocktail in the box
with others ready to light,
drop from her window down the hatch
of a passing Russian tank.

By Pat McCutcheon

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Pat McCutcheon

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