Ми тут (We are here)

We learned to live in translation,
raised with the restless understanding
that we come from ghosts
you have to believe in
to see.
If we did not stain our fingers red from beets for borshch,
knock on wood, learn to layer wax and paint on raw eggs,
and never whistle in the house,
if we did not memorize and chant,
trade Saturday morning cartoons
for lessons about Shevchenko, Stalin, and the Holodomor—
we might disappear.
And now, today,
because “Ukrainian” would not fade away,
culture not replaced, language not erased,
again they try to make us invisible,
borders redrawn with body bags,
and every mother’s heart a bomb.