Riding a bicycle in a war zone


The photo only shows
a muddied hand extended
from jacket’s blue sleeve
palm up in the rubble strewn street
fingers curled, nails polished
bright red. It was enough.

Seeing the image,
her daughter knew
the bicycle ride home
had been her mother’s last.
She pushed her bike
onto the wrong street.
Gunned down
by Russian soldiers.
The news article spoke
of breaking hearts,
shattered hopes.

And I think:
this could happen on my street.
Has happened on my street.
Shot dead for riding a bicycle.
Shot dead for jogging.
Shot dead for sitting
in your own car
in the restaurant parking lot.
Shot dead for walking
at night, wearing a hoodie
eating skittles.

When did simply living
become an act of resistance?

©2023 Kenneth W. Arthur