With Capital Letters

No matter how long I’d waited and hoped
when it happened
the winter still took me by surprise.
But everything was fine then
with capital letters
and my only concern was
not having something to say.
Today once the books have been read
and the words
have passed between us
as much as humanly possible
I reply yes to everything although
in the wooden box where I sit
there are no further questions.


Photo: Maria Butunoi


All the necessary preparations
were done. This is
what they will say when
the truth will eventually come out.

Although she never arrived
like everyone else
during the visiting hours
she almost made it.

If she had waited for a bit longer
someone, maybe you listening now,
would have noticed
the eventual passing
of such a miracle.


Photo: Maria Butunoi

What Happened with Clare

to Clare B.

Clare didn’t wear
green trousers anymore.
It was a kind of winter
so she decided
other colours were
better suited for her there,
as she sat on the cross.

Her face had lots of
squares and dots and lines on it.
I remember at one point
some glue.
Her face had music.

Clare didn’t say much but
I noticed how she put down
the empty cup
and replied ‘well, good bye then!’.

Her giggle melted in a slice of bread,
flowing over a blank canvas.


Photo: Maria Butunoi

The Barricade

Perhaps you helped to
build the barricade.
Perhaps you stayed hungry
until I took all my pills
watching the growth
of a tree inside me.

You were the only one which,
in all my photographs, never smiled,
looking down as if searching for
a missing button.
The only one to bring flowers
when all I wanted was time.
But still, out of compassion or guilt,
I would politely thank you and say
they would look beautiful in my room.

For everything that was done, I forgive.
Now wearing your clothes in the frost,
knowing that in the end
all will be lost.


Photo: Maria Butunoi


when finally God agreed
to go ahead with the interview
we’d planned ages back
I had no further questions
so I offered him
a ham sandwich instead


Photo: Maria Butunoi

Pieces of Meat

The soldier arrived,
unannounced at the door,
turned the place upside down,
searched me for visible signs of recovery.

I got out of bed ready to say that
I was my own mother for once
nurturing the unborn
locked within
my contorted pieces of meat.

I prepared to open my mouth and
let it be heard but somehow
the events got in the way and
I never quite managed to
make a start.

When he returned, the following day,
I was already up
with a fresh circle
carved out of my flesh.

The soldier cut the circle in half
and asked me to
begin all over again.


For Now, Let’s Just Talk

There is no other sign of life here,
only my fingers caught between
the wooden pages of a newspaper.

When everyone else builds
the flat packed cement houses outside,
me and the nurse behind the glass
scrutinise each other, munching dry biscuits
and maybe
saying sorry for the spoilt tea nobody drinks.
Of this I am not yet so sure.

I suppose she checks the pulse,
the nurse with a concrete face
keeps filling in the charts
with the same precision she fills in
the crossword spread open
over my legs.
I do not mind.

I say to her ‘could you please remove the batteries
from the white clock’ the time
does not matter now
what matters, I think she says, is hanging on in there.
Her own watch upside down
hanging on, just about, with her name badge.

I offer her my bed.
I could after all sit in the waiting room
by the door
or make her coffee, I suggest.
But Susan points her finger at that hole,
uncovered wound on my chest.

‘For now, let’s just talk.’
The bare wall is
the last thing I remember and
Susan watching the news.

Photo: John Stadnicki


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