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.



Bad Teaching


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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