She has given me the weather forecast.

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Maria Stadnicka, ‘Weather Forecast’ – pastel, pencil and ink on paper

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The Chairs

We have become so good at
talking about the weather
when we don’t speak at all.

Not a moment of silence can pass
between us
without me reminding you
how you left the white empty chairs outside.

Look, it rained on them
for weeks and weeks,
we have nowhere to sit and rest now.

We walk on the frozen cement with bare feet
and listen:
the rust peels off in the sun,
our skin peels off
to reveal the true colour of our bones.

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Ink: Maria Butunoi

Rituals (II)

Sometimes when both of us have dinner
The silent wolf stops by to watch.
I hear the knock on the window but keep
Looking at you and burst into fits of laughter.

We talk about the constant rain and
Listen to the tapping sound on the roof.
I offer you another glass.
The distant howl breaks the metallic echo in the room.

The ocean drips and drips
Cold over the plates, the table cloth
Whilst I wipe everything clean
Ready to hold new words between my beautiful teeth.

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Mixed media: Maria Butunoi

A Short Story About War

(dear Nichita)

I do not know how it happened but
I went to war with no guns. My fault, I admit, I
Should have done my research
Should have learnt the rules of the battlefield;
But once there I could not find the way back anymore.
‘A bit too late’ you smiled ‘pretty boys and girls should stay at home after dark’.

It did not take too long
And the soldiers found me hiding in trenches, looking for warmth.
They told me to keep in line, face the wall and take
The last breath before the firing squad.

You checked the bullets, one by one,
Gently measured the distance and
Raised your hand
But
Just before they pulled the trigger I suddenly asked:

‘Tell me, if I caught you one day
And kissed the sole of your foot
Wouldn’t you limp a little then,
Afraid to crush my kiss?’

It rained all night
And many days afterwards
While I kept talking
Although I could only see the top of your head.
The tips of your toes.