LesiaDaria writer

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A Fictional War
(Which the West Can’t Win)


Small boy in Bucha:

This is only a special operation

I had a toy rabbit

A project of denazification

Mama said don’t look

Ukraine must be stripped

They shoot for no reason

In order to be subdued

It’s only a short walk

Fascists must be eradicated

In the car, we’ll be safe

We will infiltrate and exhaust them

Mama ran but tripped

This is our sphere of influence

By a broken door a Russian soldier

We will purge their ranks

In the shelling I stopped short, hid

We can immobilise you

My hands covered my ears

We will tie your hands

But you can’t stop your eyes from seeing

And so we have our way

So still, I heard her screams

It is you who encroached on us

And the shots that made her stop

Crimes a figment of your imagination

Then they came looking for me

As we obliterate a nation, we do not target civilians

In the rubble, I played dead

Yet you cancel our great Russian culture

My rabbit was buried

We have ballet, we have Pushkin!

They don’t bury anybody, not ours or theirs

We have bullets, we have Putin!

Darkness so long, I finally went to find mama

We have nuclear options too

Behind the door she lay, arms out, not quite right

Yet you seize our yachts and villas


What is this rule of law?


I could not see her face, I could not

We decry your cynical lies

I hid in the woods until Ukrainians came

We are always ready to negotiate

They gave me water and black bread

For our long term security, which is paramount

And a blue and yellow blanket

For our total domination, we will choose

Now I am here

There is no truth, only fake news

And I so miss my mama

As ever we win, with our great Russian fiction



Who do you think has the last word?



Lesia Daria
Composed: April 2022, following the atrocities in Bucha and Irpin, Ukraine
Published: September 2022 Cambridge Journal of Politics, Law and Art