• Maria Stadnicka



Ordinary day, in a city of snipers.

The queue moves, at the Post Office,


pillars of smoke rise up lifting hot earth

above horizontal treelines.


Two burning men run towards water,

a cracked stone between them.


Silent pause changing shape

watching red-purple clouds.


Black bridges hide underground,

fireballs roll in downwards sparks.


At dawn, rust rains roads,

windows have to be shut.


Words lock themselves in silvery knots

just before they become vertical tears.


At a far-away barrier, people take turns

at remembering sleep, flower beds,


hedges, days before ashes.

Bells ringing next door.


A scream bites the rooftops.

The knives rise to meet chopping boards.






The circus is here, the circus is here,

look, two caged lions

are fighting each other.


Blood spatters all over us.

White fur stuck in sand circles, fangs 

biting below knee. Behind curtains,


a buffoon in uniform, folding both arms

across his chest, looks up.

An acrobat stumbles falling between bars,

dropped feather lead at my feet.


It’s the interval. The magician

wakes up half-dreaming

he’d found sodium dioxide.


A skinny horse crawls on the stage,

barely breathing. People laugh

blowing pointy soap-bubbles.


The spotlights flicker, we see

a tightrope walker pointing at us

in the middle, killing a rabbit.


We peel the skin off and make

a brand-new human. A screen captures

the audience cheering. We laugh.


The show is fantastic.