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Sandra Kolankiewicz

Holidays with the Skeleton


There you are again, a bag of bones 

cursing life when you starved yourself to 


get here!  All have deserted you but

your frame—and that not for long, just the 


fragile skin holding you together 

like a heart in wax paper.  Decades 


passed before you grew a root, but then 

desiccation came upon you, left 


all but the scaffold onto which we 

hang our clothes, whether indebted to 


you under the skin irrelevant.  

The rooks or starlings argue in the 


tree above the cat crossing the snow-

white yard in the dim light, sun rise at 


7:46 this morning though 

even now the air seems not to have 


acknowledged the sky’s peaking like an 

afterthought.  We’ll slide into evening as 


if slipping on the ice in our 

tumblers, having left the Day of the 


Dead behind, stumbled through Thanksgiving, 

fallen face down before the manger.  

After Your Extended Illness

After an extended illness, your

children begin to mature.  The one

you never would have expected

behaves badly. The faces of your

beloveds come in closer, others as

remote as through glass,

archetypes or clichés walking

around in bacterial skins under

alkaline skies. Your body

becomes as soft and transitory as

butter, succumbing to temperature

or stiffening for no reason but the

weather. Your bones get in the

way.  Of all your possessions,

your telephone is the most

important—after the garden, of

course, that you cannot own and

which may even possess you

because without daily effort it

disappears, the labor of someone

full of hope in a state of denial.

after your
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