Landscape with Buses

On both sides of the frontline,
orchards in bloom.
People buy and sell goods,
occupy central squares,
dogs run after barefoot children
with grain baskets – linen flags.
Buses on schedule, taxis in queue.

Business as usual.
Gunshots, grenades, mortars.

Stray barks come out of houses
with blown-up windows. Splinters
rising – morning’s canines.
Soldiers wake up to the call to prayer,
switch radio on, shave by the roadside.
Name tags rest in shoe polish tins,
heat bakes bread already sliced.
Buses carry wounded further inland.

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.