Sandra Kolankiewicz

Five Poems



The sky, grey and insis­tent as February
often is in January when the ground is
final­ly frozen.  No slip­ping in a last
minute bulb, bury­ing a root, soil held
togeth­er by ice arch­ing up from
under­neath and mound­ing as the cold
takes hold as irreg­u­lar­ly as moles
bur­row­ing, the earth hav­ing com­mit­ted
once more to the usu­al tilt for the
pre­dictable time it takes to reach sev­en
degrees of  axi­al lean and return again.


Then I Knew

Then I knew that unless I were forced to
con­stant­ly beg for my life, I would not
behave, would assume, con­de­scend, report,
or dimin­ish, no saint­hood with­out great
suf­fer­ing, no promise of decen­cy
among per­sons unless by decree.  I
was grate­ful for los­ing the sight that would
not let me see.  Just give me that moment
when they said I was not going blind so
I might remem­ber how nice I’d been,
think­ing I would have to depend on oth­ers.


Quantum Healer
One won­ders if she knew the treat­ments she
gave were worth­less, yet still she encour­aged,
hint­ing per­haps they made a dif­fer­ence,
tilt­ing the scales toward a favor­able
out­come.  So many came that her hus­band
poured a dri­ve­way for them, par­al­lel but
sep­a­rate, a lit­tle walk con­nect­ing
the two, accent­ed by aza­leas. A
geo­des­ic, hon­ey-combed par­adise
plopped down among rec­tan­gu­lar trail­er
homes and min­ers’ pyra­mi­dal roofs.  An
office in the base­ment where, assist­ed
by a com­put­er, she record­ed one’s
voice to diag­nose ill­ness, each mus­cle
a vibra­tion she cap­tured in her Sound
Program, all ele­ments reduced to wave
instead of par­ti­cle.  If she were a
Tarot card, she’d be the Magician, has
learned enough to treat the vul­ner­a­ble
with slight-of-hand: mea­sur­ing the lev­el
of B 12 in your body after three
drops of a tinc­ture; reveal­ing foot­prints
of shame­ful mol­e­cules not ingest­ed
since col­lege; shar­ing the research which proves
human chant accel­er­ates bone heal­ing.
At the end, hand­ing you a disk print­ed
with a ‘tone,’ she instructs: “Listen to this
three times a day and come back in two weeks.”
Over fif­teen years only one of them
died, but past hope when he found her, by then
mea­sur­ing that last year by his progress
in com­plet­ing his twelve-month sup­ply of
home­o­path­ic Energy Enhance,
a trade­marked reg­i­men report­ed to
stim­u­late each organ in the body.


Communiqué #1

We were at the cen­ter point,
but some­thing in us threw off
the bal­ance until we devel­oped
long rota­tions.  Heading toward
apogee, we feared we might
not reach perigee again.  Little
did we know we mere­ly mim­ic
the earth, the illu­sion of a
cir­cu­lar orbit long past, though
every­one else on our plane of
ref­er­ence per­pet­u­al­ly tries to
main­tain a tight cen­trifu­gal
whip and believes it nat­ur­al.


Postscript to the Book of the Dead
What does it take to cope with adver­si­ty?
Destiny’s a bitch you can’t con­trol.
Though we love her when she cra­dles us, in
the end we all get tossed aside even those
con­sid­ered ‘of the few,’ betrayed in ways
unimag­in­able until we are what might as
well be lost in the bar­do, hav­ing failed to
nego­ti­ate this demon or that pas­sage
because of the same trick that has always
tripped us.  How bet­ter to slip back into a
life rather than sprawl or flail, all in the re–
entry, the only part you can pre­pare for.



Sandra Kolankiewicz’s poems and sto­ries have recent­ly appeared in, or been accept­ed by, Prick of the Spindle, Bluestem, Bartleby Snopes, Gargoyle, Per Contra, Solo Novo, Bellingham Review, Rhino, New Plains, Monkeybicycle, Cortland Review, 2Riv­er, Anomalous, Inertia, and SNReview. Turning Inside won the Fall Black River Prize at Black Lawrence. Blue Eyes Don’t Cry won the Hackney Award for the Novel.