Dirt is Soil; Friend Request; Musician at the Reunion; Rendezvous; The End of Summer


Dirt is Soil

I lay down that thought with the last book I

was reading, just set them both and never

returned, amazing how much dust settles

into the thick of things, my slippers worn,

skull attempting to hold onto hair and

teeth. Is that why I am drawn to silent

films, the world then just as now, dependent

on music, all synopsis, drama in

the eyebrows? Two men sneak up to a house

and steal a chicken, whether here on this

screen or last night in Arizona, land

lost or denied, their children unaware

that even in the city by the tracks

dirt is soil, charitable, generous,

provident, nothing to be ashamed of. 


Friend Request

He seems the same, even with the jowls,

for who doesn’t have either them by


now or the tight strings running down the

neck like a repressed harp!  Move, I want


to say to his wife, he was mine once,

but she stays in the picture, trendy


hair cut, the frames of her glasses the

same color as her eyes.  And his.  I


see an old photo of them with their

children, leaping in the waves, holding


hands like a series family right

before credits splash.  I could not love


him then, but I might now that I’ve lost

more teeth, cracked my back just by rolling


over, have replaced dignity with

the dole, which isn’t enough, will not


compare to all I created when

I was yet doing, now that who I


was has stopped and become still, little

left to do except for regretting.


Musician at the Reunion

Yes, I am writing about you.  Don’t hide

or blush, rage or run, your story ours

without the outcome, the lesson all of

us eventually must learn.  I don’t

mention the tucks or the ties, the

financial failures. Though they’re ours, not yours,

because you’ve never had

anything to lose, no one wants to

remember, would rather talk about how

you fell through the man hole back in

high school, crawled out for college, and

still, thirty years later, last week was the

best time of your life except for the

month before that.  You’re in these lines

because you are happy while we are not,

having failed in that category or, more

likely, decided happiness is just a

miasma coming off a wetland like mist

off a bog. You don’t even have a lawn,

yet you present yourself, a violin in one

hand, bow in the other, head back in

song, the only who of us who’s free. 



 But we didn’t get there on time, so we

missed the bus, stuck on that corner in the

middle of nowhere with the teen age girls

crawling in and out of Kenworths parked in

the dark, shouts and giggles, high-pitched squeals just

before the crying, the desert with its

late-rising moon up ahead.  We started

walking after buying nine bottles of

water, hats, and sweaters with names of teams

we’d never heard of.  I dropped the last of

our coins into a can for breast cancer. 


The End of Summer

I brought the gong, and no one listened,

complained instead of the planes passing over

head and the poor reception, the quality of the water

and recycling restrictions.  A blue-faced man

became red, the chicken swaggering

across the road to the other side.  We

have been eating sandwiches for weeks, unable to bring

ourselves to cook or make it to the street,

so attuned to the attachments, in fact by now living

off them.  I don’t care who follows me

or you as long as I know where you’ll be when going

out the door, one last glimpse

in real life to remember.  Some of us leap

better than others, or perhaps we turn best

from left to the right, life a feast set for visitors

while we perform.  Now, the table’s finished

and ready for dismantling, one grape

surviving in the bottom of the bowl.


Sandra Kolankiewicz’s poems have appeared widely, most recently in One, Otis Nebulae, Trampset, Concho River Review, London Magazine, New World Writing and Appalachian Heritage. Turning Inside Out was published by Black Lawrence. Finishing Line has released The Way You Will Go and Lost in Transition.