By Sandra Kolankiewicz
All the Eyes of All the Needles
A thousand suits with no shoes, walking
to worship absent feet, drawn to the
action lacking exposition, the
red tie phenomenon in blue air.
Leave your hats behind!, they shout to each
other, making their way, protecting
the head unseemly, as if the brain
must be offered up, left open to wide
exposure, as if sheltering and brim
hide an unfettered nature. I have
dirt underneath my fingernails, for
the world is invisibly filthy.
I look down to see I have toiled in
the fields all day without wearing gloves.
Her temper wound itself around her words
when we missed the mark, so we felt
lucky if not distracted by some teen
age rule when it was our turn to
be cropped for having a conversation
in our heads, not recognizing
the signs. The front yard blistered in the sun.
In the yearbook, not one house has
trees. How did we survive prosperity?
Like all else, incidents aren’t known
until later, notoriety years
past, when we can no longer perform the
skills that garnered us accolades.
No more oceans or rivers, which can help
only so much. Forget the cliffs with the
views or the tops of mountains and ‘off
like a bird.’ They can mean just something when
we need everything, distracting with their
beauty when we need hard ugliness to
bloom, the lily dated, inefficient.
Don’t sit down—are you crazy! Your mother’s
voice tells you to make out of nothing with a scrap
of tin foil and a piece of cloth through which
you can filter the dawn sky; then, be gone
for the day as if you were a man. That’s
how things are now; if you’ve only two suits,
then there are merely two shirts, two pants, two
jackets to wash. Few know the difference
because all wear the same fabric, stubborn
effort required over reflective breath.
About the author:
Nearly 150 of Sandra Kolankiewicz’s poems and stories have appeared in journals over the past thirty-five years. Her chapbook ‘Turning Inside Out’ won the Black River Chapbook Competition at Black Lawrence Press. ‘Blue Eyes Don’t Cry’ won the Hackney Award for the Novel. She has a B.A. and a Ph.D. from Ohio University and attended the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins. She currently lives with her family in Marietta, Ohio, and teaches at a community college in West Virginia.
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