Night Life

Illustration © Atlanta Wiggs in International Times, June 2021

Ward 4B

During a heatwave, visitors are 
forbidden beyond the reception desk. 
 
Breathing machines run on batteries
after midnight nurses rush out 
 
on cigarette break. There is 
a sudden drop in humidity         
 
with the scream of a new-born 
dug out of the womb by hand.
 
Outside the hospital, a man walks
between candles like into a forest 
 
delivering flowers to the maternity. 
Alley cats rummage through garbage, 
 
wish him good luck. Staff change shifts
back at depot for deep-cleaning.
 
Summer rainwater washes away 
night traffic blood puddles.

© Maria Stadnicka, June 2021, published in International Times on 26 June 2021.

Wind Noose

 

Art work © Mark Mawer, Backwater (2019).

 

There is a break in hostilities.

Long enough to exchange prisoners,

embalm scattered shirt buttons.

 

A temporary ceasefire to inearth

our collateral losses then pause

for a live broadcast at midday.

 

Coloured bar charts hurry up to

catch the moment cyber runners

reach their finishing lines. Race over.

 

Winners grow up to have long legs,

fitted for mile-wide life hurdles.

Empty seats line up in combat gear.

 

© Maria Stadnicka, October 2020

Midlands in Lockdown / Week #10 / At Eye Level

Photography © John Stadnicki, May 2020

The Earth Inside / Week #8 in Lockdown / Midlands, United Kingdom

You wander countless streets

pass a pandemic that seems

to go on forever.

But nothing is eternal.

Photography © John Stadnicki, 2020