7pm, Moscow — Hope Nicholson


24/02/22, 7pm, Moscow


I lie to my faux family,

say I am off to evening classes

and sneak out to the cinema.

I seat myself at the back

(not where the ticket says

but couples’ row is empty today)

and Licorice Pizza plays as I peer

at the Muscovites below.

Not many – a dozen? –

but enough to make me question

what they are doing namely here.

Here reclined in plush seats,

not at home contemplating war,

not taking to the streets.

I justify my own cowardice

with Foreign Office advice to

be vigilant and avoid any demonstrations

but guilt chokes my laughter

as I picture my newly forged friends

risking arrest. Ukrainians facing death.

I leave the country the next day

and wonder whether American

films will be forbidden.



Instagram: @hope_nicholson

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