Sandra Kolankiewicz



I cannot remember a time when
you weren’t strange, dressed up in your white tights
and turtleneck, become the white mare,
barefoot galloping the yard on your
hands and feet, daily disappointed
your human knees bent forward instead
of backwards like a horse’s, which sounds
charming, but you wouldn’t stop, just lifted
your fine head and tossed your mane at us
even when we lighted from the bus,
lost in a world we could only mock
or dream of. You stomped a hoof, flicked your
tail while your mother braided your hair,
the only one who didn’t blink when
you whinnied from the back yard, saving
from alimony to build a barn
and find you a gentle companion.


In Retirement

Every other day the same meeting at
the recycling center, unable to
hold on to my trash any longer than

you can even if something useful could
be made of it. You know everyone’s names;
I can’t remember who works here, all in

rags to toss their loads, protecting their best.
You have nowhere else to go, the shed with
bottles and scraps of tin the only place

that gives you pleasure. Like me, you recall
the war when we saved everything. Why are
you always alone? Then I recognize

the signs: a demented wife at home, your
grief and loneliness crisp as the short sleeved
shirt that a daughter must iron for you,

or that you still have the money to drop
off at the cleaners, unwilling to give
up the old fabrics. Someone else takes an

hour from the day so you can drive here to
this outpost, then visit the grocery
on your way home, weaving among tourists

who mistake you for a visitor, who
park where they please, changing the prices of
our daily essentials with each season.

Nearly 150 of Sandra Kolankiewicz’s poems and stories have appeared in journals over the past thirty-five years, featured in such places as Mississippi Review, North American Review, Confrontation, Gargoyle, Rhino, Prairie Schooner, Prick of the Spindle, Cortland Review, Fifth Wednesday, Louisville Review, and in the anthologies Sudden Fiction and Four Minute FictionTurning Inside Out won the Black River Chapbook Competition at Black Lawrence Press. Blue Eyes Don’t Cry won the Hackney Award for the Novel.

 … return to Issue 7.2 Table of Contents.