Elinor Ann Walker

I want my eye to look like the world

                                    and after tweets by Yaroslava Antipina (@strategywoman) along with this video

Having overheard his friend’s daughter
on a Zoom call playing dress-up, putting on her
mother’s makeup, all the greens and blues,
a friend sent her words to me for a found
             I want my eye to look like the world

A daughter’s desire: endless pool spilling over
a palette, a shimmer beyond the edge of
eyelid, brow bone, imperfect arc—imagine
a raindrop suspended, reflecting light on a spring-
green leaf, or a smudged whirl of earth-
blue from space, the planet not only for her
child-vision but tilting in ours. Here we are,
under our cerulean skies, while others
are shadowed. It’s impossible to think
            of the world in the same way

because mothers and children are lost,
the iridescent measures of their lives left
behind on vanities or bathroom sinks now
broken in pieces, all fractured the little touches
that we believe make us beautiful. The woman
from Kyiv who is taking no-makeup selfies
to document her war-life posts a throwback.
She says, here is a photograph of me from
that life.
            She is still so beautiful.

Blue and yellow. Sky and field. Somewhere
a bruise purples to green. Somewhere a wound,
a womb. Detached hip, shrapnel, crushed pelvis,
tiny bones. The birds, the woman from Kyiv says,
are dancing to the wails of the sirens—sound on,
she pleads, for her video, having found the art
in chaos, a backdrop of bare trees, clouds,
a building’s squared roof, a power line bisecting
dark wings and angles, silhouettes of fluttering
against a wailing sky as the rotor
speeds and slows. The birds circle and circle,
as if sewing something gaping closed. Sow
our cries into the air—oh, how we want
the world to be beautiful!
            I want my eye to reflect that world.



Nothing is Ordinary during Wartime

                                    after tweets by Yaroslava Antipina (@strategywoman) and others

A woman meets an older woman on a train.
She tells her what she’s left behind.
She’s said goodbye to her books, her teacup
(the hand-painted one), and her plants.

Her flowers are alone, she says,
while the buildings are falling.
She is only an ordinary woman, she says,
ordinary during wartime.

She cries a little, but promises
to be braver tomorrow.

I keep thinking of her while she is #somewhere
(places and names are too dangerous to say).

Because I have nothing else to offer,
I imagine her plants growing wild
like in fairytales, stems strong and lithe,
until they reach the rooftops.

If there are no longer any rooftops,
then they tendril through a smoky sky
in an embrace of green, leaf by leaf
by leaf, the sun so close that, suffused
by light, uncontrollably they bloom,
petaling the heavens in yellow hues.

And when the woman finally sleeps,
rather than nightmares of absence or terror,
she witnesses a proliferation of color,
a glow, a canopy of something like hope



Elinor Ann Walker’s recent work is featured in Whale Road Review, Nimrod International Journal, Juniper, The Orchards Poetry Journal, The Rappahannock Review, and Plant-Human Quarterly, among other journals and anthologies. A Best Microfiction and Best of the Net nominee, she prefers to write outside. Find her online at https://elinorannwalker.com