To Unify

Hanna Komar

Do this:

come for a visit,

sit before them,

say, “I need to talk

to you”,

and start crying.

Cry for everything

they haven’t been for you,

cry that they

never grew up

and didn’t protect you

from themselves, 

that you cannot lean on them,

that staring out the window

is more amusing 

than being in their space.

“I’m so just like you”

sounds sick.

Cry that escaping from them

you throw yourself

into the wrong arms, 

for anxiety wakes up 

before you and sings,

“Sleep baby,

it’s so scary

and so unsafe out there,

you won’t make it on your own,

don’t even think you can,

find someone to cling to,

to adhere and get attached, 

let him carry the responsibility

for your happiness,

you can stay a little girl

for another while.”

Cry steadily, chokingly,

take no breaks,

you don’t want to give them time 

to disagree.

It’s ok they don’t understand,

it’s fine they are confused,

exchanging glances

and sharing guilty silence. 

If all you have accomplished

on your own

cannot unite them,

maybe guilt will.

About the Author

Hanna Komar is a Belarusian poet, translator, writer.

Her poetic work lays bare the experience of being a girl, then a young woman, growing up in a strongly patriarchal authoritarian country. Her latest poems talk about the nationwide political resistance in Belarus of 2020.

She’s published five poetry collections: “Страх вышыні” [Fear of Heights], a collection of docu poetry “Мы вернемся” [We’ll Return] and “Вызвалі або бяжы” [Set Me Free or Run] in Belarusian, as well as a bilingual collections Recycled and Ribwort.

A member of PEN Belarus and an honorary member of English PEN. Freedom of Speech 2020 Prize laureate from the Norwegian Authors’ Union.

Hanna has an MA in Creative Writing: Writing the City from the University of Westminster. She is taking a PhD at the University of Brighton, exploring how poetry can support Belarusian women to share experiences of gender-based violence and patriarchy.


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