Bio Note: I was born in the Soviet Union and came to the US as a refugee at the age of 16. I have a bachelor’s degree in Electrical engineering and Computer Science from Princeton University and a Ph. D. in Statistics from Cornell University. I am a student in the Fairleigh Dickinson University MFA in Creative Writing program, where I am a grateful recipient of the Mitch and Lynn Baumeister Scholarship. Currently, I am working on translating into English anti-war poetry that is being written at this time by poets living in Ukraine, Russia and Russian-speaking diaspora.
Dear Likely Non-Voter, as I write this postcard to you, trying to find just the right words to convince you to vote, as I slow down my hand to be legible in passing to you the information you might need to get your ballot, fill it properly, send it on time, I try to picture your hands taking this piece of thin cardboard from your mailbox, your eyes scanning my lines. Perhaps you are older than me. Maybe your fingers with swollen joints shake as you close your eyes. Sometimes simply staying alive, holding yourself together takes so much work, it is hard to spare any effort to attend to the world outside the familiar room. Perhaps you are younger. Your lips, still retaining the plumpness of your recent childhood, twist wryly: here is yet another so-called adult trying to tell you what is the right thing to do. One of all those people who for decades have been making a mess of things. Now they turn to you with hope in their eyes, now they proclaim: “It is up to you to fix the world.” Perhaps with a single glance at my wording, my handwriting, my name you guess that I look, sound, live differently from yourself, from the people you hold closest to your heart. The thread that connects us is so thin, as to be invisible. As I touch it, I am not sure whether it has the strength to transmit the meaning without breaking. Put my postcard aside. Find your own words that will convince you: your decision matters, it is worth your while to not be silent, to take part in creating the news that will meet us the next day.
Our silences stack one inside another like matryoshka dolls. Yesterday’s unsaid words fit into the hollows of today’s evasions. And they, in turn, will fill tomorrow’s shell. Day after day, the lacquered face appears the same — round, rosy-cheeked and smiling brightly. Yet larger. Each time larger than before.
©2022 Yana Kane
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