Ilya Kaminsky
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We Lived Happily During the War

And when they bombed other people’s houses, we

protested
but not enough, we opposed them but not

enough. I was
in my bed, around my bed America

was falling: invisible house by invisible house by invisible house.

I took a chair outside and watched the sun.

In the sixth month
of a disastrous reign in the house of money

in the street of money in the city of money in the country of money,
our great country of money, we (forgive us)

lived happily during the war.

waves

Ilya Kaminsky was born in Odessa, former Soviet Union, in 1977, and arrived to the United States in 1993, when his family was granted asylum by the American government.

He is the author of Dancing In Odessa (Tupelo Press) which won the Whiting Writer’s Award, the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Metcalf Award, the Dorset Prize, the Ruth Lilly Fellowship given annually by Poetry magazine. Dancing In Odessa was also named Best Poetry Book of the Year by ForeWord Magazine.

Kaminsky currently teaches English and Comparative Literature at San Diego State University.  (IlyaKaminsky.com)

“We Lived Happily During the War” from the Poetry International website. Copyright © 2013 by Ilya Kaminsky.  Reprinted by permission of Ilya Kaminsky.