the children will play until they heal or they die

(these soldiers have mortars for mouths and rockets for arms)
the children of Ukraine speak an East Slavic tongue
(these soldiers who come here must now be obeyed)
the children of Sumy are playing la marelle ronde
(whose heart is a hammer whose soul is the grave)
a game learned in Paris and then brought back home
(and whoever they kill and whoever they die)
if the green meadow runs red or the blue sky is a lie
(whether Isia or Daryna or baba or mama)
when the body has weakened and the eyes say goodbye

(these children will play at la marelle ronde)


Thomas’ work has appeared in over 70 journals, most recently in The Antioch Review, Connecticut River Review, New Orleans Review, and The Iconoclast; his poetry chapbook, Juniata County, was nominated for a Massachusetts Book Award; a recent chapbook, Village of Doomed Women, was published from Finishing Line Press in 2019