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.