The World According to a Child-Soldier

On my first day at school I learn to
say ‘yes’ to everything, to accept the dogs’ fight
for the best seat at the open-screen cinema.

I learn the silence of a dry pen,
lost in a great pile of bones.

I learn to agree with the history,
for it has the right to choose terror
over Vermeer’s ‘Girl in Hyacinth Blue’.

All my books have a few missing chapters but
my teacher says that acceptance, not hope,
is the best weapon against dreams.

I learn that I was not born a slave but
I became one.

Maria Stadnicka is a writer, freelance journalist and lecturer. Winner of 12 Romanian National Poetry prizes, she worked as a radio and TV broadcaster. She has lived in Gloucestershire, England since 2003. Published poetry collections: O-Zone Friendly, A Short Story about War, Imperfect. Further details about Maria's work and portfolio available on her website Read other articles by Maria.