“. . . I cannot sing
Amid this horror.”
– Anna Akhmatova
(early draft of “Poem without a Hero”)
Months pass without a single word recorded,
Eliminating each suspicious link:
The terrorizing, barbarizing, sordid,
The ones who poison tea, with those who drink.
“O, most false love, where be the sacred vials
Thou should’st fill . . . ?”
A subject lethally dosed,
I lurch at each new week’s compounding trials
Exploding round, like Hamlet’s father’s ghost.
Official, noncommittal X-ray vans
Roll swiftly past with purpose, formal seal
A tip suggesting something heavy scans
For cruel contraband, through stone and steel –
Their fluid cool and zero room for error
Lending an added facet to the terror.
— This poem appears in the November 7 print issue of National Review.