Tuesday 11 October 2022

Five Poems by Sandra Kolankiewicz


Considering the Magnolia


The magnolia sheds all year like the

rest of us, losing a little life here

and there, leaves letting go and drifting as

they come to rest on what is now the bare

ground beneath the tree, recent shade moving

in underneath as the base spreads wide with

maturity. Forget her letting go

of her clothes at once like the maple, who

releases her pinwheels at the same time,

then goes blank with winter, or the sweet gum,

dropping aggressive prickly balls on the

grass so we turn our ankles, then tossing

star-shaped leaves after months of moving from

green to red to brown, piles of all them waiting

to be turned to mulch by the city. The

magnolia’s leaf buds seem hard to tell

from the flower buds if you’re not from the

south, this imported visitor, waxy

and eternally green as a hemlock

or holly, as outside the usual expectations

as a bald cypress in dead winter, the

one conifer we have learned will go bare.



Brood Parasite


I looked for the thrush, heard his call but could

not spot him in the thicket woven from

grapevine and poke weed, bright green shoots of thorned

multifloral rose shooting out in all

directions from an ancient stem. What kind

of invertebrates was he seeking on

the forest floor to bring home to the nest

where his mate sat protecting cowbirds eggs

after her own were scattered on the ground?



Meanwhile in Houston


One morning, the cardiothoracic

            surgeon was shot while cutting across the

bike path from his car to the hospital

            by a man whose mother had died on the

table with her chest cracked open.  Hundreds

            of his former patients showed up at the

undisclosed funeral, their hearts breaking.



Irreconcilable Differences

If you had not done this, I would not have

done that.  Because I said, you did not. When

you reached, I let go. As I entered, you

left. After you told me, I forgot. Though

I knew you were coming, I did not show

up. Since you could tell I wanted you, you

looked away. Unless I disagreed, you

would not be agreeable. Whenever

you called, I refused to answer my phone.

Wherever you searched for me, I was right

behind you.  While I opened the curtain,

you said accept this darkness as your own.



Stripped Bare


When you get the call saying you need to

come now if you want to say goodbye, don’t

hesitate.  Drive through a night for days, buy

an over-priced ticket, hop a train, get

off your ass and walk across the street, make

that fifteen-minute trip you’ve been putting

off.  Otherwise, you might not see what I

saw, receive what I got, the warmest smile

full of all the love she could not give me

when she was doing anything other

than dying right before my eyes.  How she

lit with a glow I wish I’d seen before,

when I was a child and frightened of her.

We might have shared for longer than our few

full minutes at the end had we been stripped

bare by death on a regular basis.


by Sandra Kolankiewicz

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