Філіп Оленик, Київ

Mother called me and said:

— The explosions in the sky have had a different sound since yesterday. It’s our anti-aircraft defense. Something has changed. I hope it’s a new technology. Something better.

My friend hadn’t had her periods for more than nine years since March 2014. She’d been switching diets, ideologies, lovers, places to live. She felt conflicted. There had been so much stress, and her ovaries felt too distracted and wary to proceed with their normal function. But yesterday, two weeks into the war, blood broke out. All the eggs she had been conserving over the years, lined up decisively, ready to fly out at a formidable speed into the night sky and explode, in order to protect us: people, animals, plants clustered in artificially heated, electrically lit buildings of Kyiv.

Our local crows chatter worriedly after each explosion. My friend and I are out for a walk around the neighborhood just before the curfew hours. It’s dark. She takes a photo, and her phone’s flash lights up a wall of my apartment building. Crows sitting at a nearby tree notice the flash, it’s not even pointed at them, and fly away in a hurry. I don’t remember them being this jumpy before. They must have learned something new about flashes.