Sandra Kolankiewicz/ Poetry 5.2 / Fall, 2017






from RSR Featured Photography © by Tammy Ruggles


Even the Long List of the Day’s Chores

Now that the garden is fading, I turn
to you, in great need of upkeep, what will
stay or go, whether the small shirts in your
closet will be culled, the bald tires on the
wall in the garage taken down and hauled
to the recycling center. Even the
dog can’t stop shedding what in the winter
he needed but what now, a month from fall
equinox, makes him itch and the fleas fat,
on my ankles as soon as I’m down the
stairs at dawn, having woken earlier
than usual to find the house quiet
as ever, the darkness feeling sweet and
safe, even the long list of the day’s chores
on my table kind, for they make sleep possible.


I wanted to create so thought of stones,
curved and fitting in my palm, removed from
some place long ago I can’t remember
though perhaps I was with you. Or someone
else, happy enough to have gathered a
piece of granite to mark what has fallen
prey to memory, gone as a gesture
or smile, that lovely energy from that
wonderful day I cannot recall. We’ve
had thousands of them, shards struck from the base
of a cliff, smoothed by the rushing water.


Grammar as Mindfulness

So when he said I choose what I think about,
as he proposed I had drawn it all toward me,
this drowning like no other in the hole in
the bottom of the creek where the plug’s been
yanked out, his saying I’d set everything in
motion with my desires, wanting instead of
having, striving instead of being. I can’t
help that evening at sunset when we sat on
a rock at the swimming hole I took him to,
voices of the locals coming our way so it was
time to leave, for this was not our part of the
county, and no one likes to see that others
know a secret place. There we were, here we aren’t,
postponing the subject with an adverb that
plucks us up, sets us down unchanged. The
cure is an outdated sentence pattern that
either alters a thought or creates one. I
survive by complementing an object, shift
my thoughts, supplying kind words to describe.
For 35 years, Sandra Kolankiewicz’s poems and stories have appeared in reviews and anthologies, most recently in London Magazine, New World Writing, BlazeVox, Prairie Schooner, Bellingham Review, Gargoyle, Prairie Schooner, Fifth Wednesday, ArGiLo, Per Contra, and Pif.  Turning Inside Out won the fall Black River contest at Black Lawrence Press.  Finishing Line Press published The Way You Will Go in 2014 and released Lost in Transition in March 2017. When I Fell, an e-novel about aging, redemption, and time travel, with 76 color illustrations by Kathy Skerritt, is available from Web-e-Books and will be coming out in book format.


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