Ksenia Rychtycka

Carpathian Homecoming

When Mother pressed
me to her breast — song
of the Carpathians cascading
like the Prutsky Falls
from her lips –
I swallowed whole.

I spoke your language
even though separated
by ocean and Iron Curtain.
Smuggled poems of dissidents
laid bare the pain of trampling
boots – sting of whip
borne on your back.

Bruised but never broken,

you welcomed me home –
daughter of reluctant refugees,
bombarded by bullets and bombs —
Even as they fled west,
they never stopped looking back.



Ksenia Rychtycka is a first-generation Ukrainian-American poet and fiction writer. Her poetry chapbook, A Sky Full of Wings, won the Eric Hoffer Book Award in the chapbook category and a da Vinci Eye award for cover design. It was also shortlisted for the Eric Hoffer Grand Prize. Her collection of short stories, Crossing the Border, was a finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Ksenia’s work has appeared in many literary journals and anthologies including Alaska Quarterly Review, The Literary Bohemian, The Dalhousie Review, Yellow Medicine Review and Ukrainian American Poets Respond. She worked as an editor in Ukraine during the early years of the post-Soviet era and has backpacked through twelve countries in Europe. Ksenia holds a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from Columbia College Chicago and works as a copy editor for a Detroit ad agency.