Two Poems by Sandra Kolankiewicz

Compassion Having Flooded

I make it through the week reminding myself
             of what I have learned standing at the bottom
of the stairs, my knees cracking as I pause in
            the hall to hear him on the other side of
a door tell the nurse of his nightmare: his fear
            of falling asleep full of grief and regret,
all the preventative measures he might have
            taken to help others now rising to the
raw surface of his repose, become the rude
            tendencies of character which he regrets
as an interloper among the living,
            compassion having flooded his heart along
with the first stroke, keeping him awake at night
            while I walk the floor below, marveling how
I forgive a sick man who once abused me.


Blessed and Natural

Without hormones the past intrudes, nothing to hold
            mind in place, no longer pushed back where thought belongs

by glands doing what they are meant to do, make us
             reckless, the most shy part of our private lives out

of control, driven by what we don’t understand
            till we are all wrapped up, and the overlapping

begins, the ability to justify with
            bravado now replaced by a too painful to

be named, too raw to be described, except to say
            the feeling appears universal, the reason

we do anything later in life, admire still
            the light from candles on the table reflecting 

in the windows of the room where we gather, sure
            that to so diminish is blessed and natural.

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.