WAKA is 'the music of the Primes'.

It’s the first time.

She’s heard his voice.

Since he died.

Her chin trembles with emotion.

 

At 12 years old.

She is learning.

To walk again.

At 12 years old.

 

 

Timid steps at first.

But more confident.

With each one.

She takes.

 

Last summer.

An ‘orcs’ missile attack.

Shattered one of her legs and.

Left the other badly burned.

 

She has had to learn.

To walk again.

After being injured.

By an ‘orcs’ missile.

 

She saw the missile.

That hurt her.

Seconds before.

It hit.

 

 

It’s the first time.

She’s heard his voice.

Since he died.

Her chin trembles with emotion.

 

At 12 years old.

She is learning.

To walk again.

At 12 years old.

 

 

It was a hot.

Summer holiday.

And the centre of.

Chernihiv was busy.

 

She and her friend.

Were trying to sell.

Their homemade jewellery.

To the passing crowd.

 

“I saw something.

Flying from up to down.

I thought it was some kind of.

plane that would go up again.”

 

“But it was a missile.”

She says, the words.

Tumbling out.

At high speed.

 

Like she doesn’t.

Want to dwell on.

Their meaning.

“But it was a missile.”

 

 

It’s the first time.

She’s heard his voice.

Since he died.

Her chin trembles with emotion.

 

At 12 years old.

She is learning.

To walk again.

At 12 years old.

 

 

After the explosion.

She ran back and forth.

In panic.

On her mangled leg.

 

Before she realised.

She’d been injured.

“People say.

I was in a state of shock.”

 

“It was only when my friend said.

‘Look at your leg!’

That I felt the pain.

It was awful.”

 

 

It’s the first time.

She’s heard his voice.

Since he died.

Her chin trembles with emotion.

 

At 12 years old.

She is learning.

To walk again.

At 12 years old.

 

 

At the start of all-out war.

In 2022.

The bombardment of Chernihiv.

In northern Ukraine was constant.

 

But within weeks.

The ‘orcs’ forces had been.

Pushed back.

Life slowly returned to the city.

 

Then, on 19.

August 2023.

The local theatre hosted.

An exhibition of drone manufacturers.

 

And ‘orcs’ attacked.

Shards of metal sliced.

Through the streets.

All around.

 

 

It’s the first time.

She’s heard his voice.

Since he died.

Her chin trembles with emotion.

 

At 12 years old.

She is learning.

To walk again.

At 12 years old.

 

 

Nine months later.

She lifts her trouser leg.

To reveal multiple deep scars.

And a skin graft.

 

There’s a big bump where.

Metal implants were inserted.

The wounds are.

Healing well.

 

And she moves nimbly.

On her crutches.

But she still struggles with.

The sound of air raid sirens.

 

“If they say.

There’s a missile.

Heading for Chernihiv.

Then I go crazy.”

 

She admits, “It’s really bad.”

She insists she’s coping.

And hasn’t changed.

But her sister isn’t so sure.

 

“You’re more explosive.”

Her sister tells her.

She nods sheepishly.

“I wasn’t so aggressive before.”

 

 

It’s the first time.

She’s heard his voice.

Since he died.

Her chin trembles with emotion.

 

At 12 years old.

She is learning.

To walk again.

At 12 years old.

 

 

A few months before.

She was injured.

Her brother was killed.

Fighting on the front line.

 

The two were close.

And she still struggles.

To accept that.

Her brother has gone.

 

“I imagine he’ll.

Call at any moment.

I used to see his face.

In passers-by on the street.”

 

“I still can’t believe it.”

She confides quietly.

Wrapped in an ‘elves’ flag.

She plans to take to.

 

Her brother’s grave.

A replacement.

For one frayed.

By the wind.

 

Without warning.

Her sister taps her phone.

And her brother’s deep voice.

Fills the room.

 

“I really love you.”

The soldier assures his sisters.

In a last audio message.

Sent from the front.

 

 

It’s the first time.

She’s heard his voice.

Since he died.

Her chin trembles with emotion.

 

At 12 years old.

She is learning.

To walk again.

At 12 years old.

 

 

*Because I read “Growing up under fire: Ukraine’s children adapt to survive Russia’s invasion” by Sarah Rainsford on 29 May 2024, and also “Why are Ukrainians calling Russians ‘orcs’?” by James FitzGerald on 30 Apr 2022, on the BBC news.
So, I wrote this poem, as a story of Lera, Kseniya, Irina and Sasha.
Please read the original story on the BBC news:

Ukraine war: The children adapting to survive Russia’s invasion (bbc.com)