How Are You Doing? – A Poem

How Are You Doing? – A Poem

How Are You Doing?

By Abigail de Vuyst

from Among Worlds – Politics & Public Service – June 2022


 

“How are you doing?”

They routinely ask me this morning

“I’m okay,” I say, a regular response

They haven’t seen the news yet

“How are you doing?”

“I’m alright,” I say, as I hold back tears

I can’t look anyone in the face

They wonder what is going on with me

They haven’t made the connection

“How are you doing?”

Some ask, as they rush over to give me a hug

Every hug today is a little longer

They know the situation

I can’t even answer

I just cry

“How are you doing?”

My professor asks me as I enter the empty classroom

“They’re bombing my city” is all I can say

“Oh no,” they mutter

They remember where I’m from

I collapse into their caring arms

“How are you doing?”

“Have you seen the news,” I say

They do a quick search

“The missiles in Ukraine?” they ask

“Yeah, Russia declared war”

Thankfully, that’s enough of an answer

“How are you doing?

I saw the news

Are you okay?”

“I didn’t sleep last night,” I say

Pity engulfs their face

“I can’t even imagine,” they say

“How are you doing?”

“I’m from Ukraine,” I say

“If you need to talk, go ahead,”

The stranger says in my meeting

I appreciate the care

“How are you doing?”

I sigh; I know I am safe with them

“It’s been a hard day”

They help me process,

Cry with me and pray with me

“How are you doing?”

A bright happy smile

Crossing my path

“I’m good,” I say; I lie

I want to be upset—they don’t realize my situation

But their joyful smile instead

Gives me a moment of hope

I hope that one day

My people can again smile

Without the constant fear and thought of war

“How are you doing?”

I don’t know what to say

The truth is I don’t know how I am doing

I feel like my inside has been ripped open and someone is digging around inside, trying to steal my heart

I guess that is what is happening

Someone is stealing my heart

Ukraine has always been my heart

Ukraine will always be my heart

Слава Україні!


Abigail de Vuyst grew up in Ukraine as a TCK/MK. She is currently studying at university in Michigan.

 

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