By SANDRA KOLANKIEWICZ.
Earth at Apogee
I can’t write of the oceans
without seeing that landmass of
plastic swirling in the Pacific,
bigger than Pitcairn Island, the
consequences of mutiny against the
natural world. Squeeze a rock,
drain the dirt to get plastic.
Scrape a sticky flower center for the
smell of forget what we deserve.
Likewise that sacred cliff
from which the ancestors watched
us from above had no means to
protect itself, face blown off to
reveal the images of idols, their feet
down in the clay on which we stand
to admire them. We have even stripped
the sun light of vitamin d, separated the
air from the kind of fuel that fills your
bones, makes them strong enough to
climb a defiled mountain, holy hills like
those bumps in the grass that used to be
tombs before the bombing made the
skeletons of the ancient dead indistinguishable
from the recently departed. What
angry cloud set fire to the brush? Where
did the birds and bears retreat when
the forest turned to ash, earth at apogee
from itself and pulled toward perigee,
torn between who we were and who
we can become, creators of a new
continent in our own image.
You’re probably right; no one counts but you.
We have no credibility. We’re the
people in the rabble who understand
if we didn’t impose, you’d ignore us,
wouldn’t step up to help, would even sniff
like a gentleman who sneers when he is
not. If you had been educated on
curbs in this city, a result of where you
are from, off the normal boundaries, your
childhood an estate with no sidewalks past
the bus lines, you would know that slaves cut them
from single slabs of rock, something you have
always taken for granted as if mid-
way between the walk and street just for you.
Sandra Kolankiewicz’s poems have appeared widely, including in One, Per Contra, Galway Review, London Magazine, New World Writing and Appalachian Review. Turning Inside Out was published by Black Lawrence. The Way You Will Go and Lost in Transition were published by Finishing Line Press.