Michelle Bitting: “Good Friday Ukraine Egg Verse”
Selected by Alexis Rhone Fancher, Poetry Editor
Good Friday Ukraine Egg Verse
Yesterday, a crow rinsed its rare scrap of carrion in our backyard bath,
mucking the waters, corpsing the flower bed with discarded entrails
of some conquered creature—caught and scattered across the field.
I like to imagine strangers, and good friends, too—gathered pagans
and pilgrims, both, inside candle bright naves of churches or
the everyday alters of living room tables blessed with brushes,
beeswax, dank red and opaque dyes portending majesty and death,
the tempered-in pastels of fairytales we cloak horror in so children
can sleep. Safika says when the sun’s gone dark & gods disappear behind
ink-blotted scenarios of sky, we follow the birds, as we always have,
flying closer to the source, the raw yolk force of solar sorcery
frowning down on grave slaughters of women, innocents, the lone
man martyred on the skull bald head of Golgotha. I like to think of buried
things—tender necks sprouting from severed bulbs, the eggs interred Safika
says make cattle stronger and beehives lush with golden honey. Pysanka
placed in a child’s coffin so there’s something to play with. On return,
Safika says, they’ll tunnel eggs scribed with signs of living and the dead
into ruins of their mothered earth—that sprung and bloodied canvas of rebirth.
Featured photo credit: Alexis Rhone Fancher
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michelle Bitting is the author of five collections of poetry, Good Friday Kiss, winner of the inaugural De Novo First Book Award (C & R Press); Notes to the Beloved which won the Sacramento Poetry Center Book Award (reissued by C & R Press); The Couple Who Fell to Earth (C & R Press); Broken Kingdom, winner of the 2018 Catamaran Poetry Prize, and Nightmares & Miracles (Two Sylvias Press, 2022), winner of the Wilder Prize. Michelle is a lecturer in Poetry and Creative Writing at Loyola Marymount University and Film Studies at University of Arizona Global.