By Sandra Kolankiewicz 

Aunt Ann

Even nurses feared her swollen body.
The neighbors brought balloons
and left quickly.
Each night her husband strolled through the automatic doors,
slapping a check book against his palm.
She lost her hair and her breasts. 
Visits were limited, as if cancer were catching,
droplets of a sneeze: careful,
don’t drink from that cup.
A phone call from Houston was all I gave her.
Stopped between planes, I had drinks and some quarters, promised, but never wrote.

The Widow’s Son

His mother is waiting in the doorway,
an embarrassing silhouette, for all
but he repudiate their mother in
the attempt to turn themselves into men
before their voices crack, looking for the
hair on the chest or at the pubis, this
rejection of female comfort, for love
will do little for them in the world of
money, even if they end up at a
desk.  Though they’ll tease him later, he answers
her from the dark, dragging his sled behind,
content to do whatever she asks, for
he considers the hats and mittens dried
on the heating vents overnight, the smell
of the bedroom in the morning with its
deep sighs, her going downstairs first, where the
light is, always doing, never sitting,
resting only between the short hours of
turning out the lamp and feeling for her
glasses on the bed stand in the dark.

Translocating at the Beach

It never would have happened if we weren’t
at the beach. After several glasses

of wine adults lose track, then assure
themselves they did not recently blunder

a telling meeting or give view to fears.
The unwelcome shift in place continues

repeating itself, ignored like a fish
on the table when everyone’s sated,

or the blushed darkness of someone too young
stepping from the shower on a morning

you might be so hungry the food in the
dog bowl appeals.  We jump in and out, all

periphery, recognizing even
the places to which we will never go.

About the Author:


Over 300 of Sandra Kolankiewicz’s poems and stories have appeared in reviews and anthologies, most recently in New World Writing, BlazeVox, Gargoyle, Prairie Schooner, Fifth Wednesday, ArGiLo, Prick of the Spindle, Per Contra, and Pif. Turning Inside Out won the 2008 fall Black River contest at Black Lawrence Press.  In 2014, Finishing Line Press published The Way You Will Go and released Lost In Transition in March 2017. When I Fell, a novel with 76 color illustrations by Kathy Skerritt, is available from Web-e-Books.