You have developed a small limp
since the last time we met, and I
list to the right, some ear
infection the year before, affecting
nerve number eight in the
auditory canal, both balance
and hearing. Your walking stick
is a rustic affair with leather,
mine sanded smooth and thin,
some kind of desert wood that never
breaks and only bends,
sent by my daughter who moved to a place
with no water resources of its own,
the modern denial that puts mankind
in the center of a death spiral.
Here where the sky cannot stop
raining the rocks are mossy,
swathed in ghostly lichen.
Fall’s almost done, but the coppers
and bronzes yet gleam bright
among the wet dark boulders,
the hidden hollows and overhangs
where someone surely spent the
night with a fire, twenty years
ago or four hundred,
that kind of winding trail up to
what could be called only a sacred
rock that once gave the traveler some
advantage, allowed for signal flickers.
Even from the back we look
our age, bent and frumpy in baggy
hats and layers of warmth,
moving cautiously with our canes
but climbing still.
Sandra Kolankiewicz's poetry has most recently been accepted by Southword, New Welsh Review, America Magazine, and Free State Review. All of her work is about trying to orient in a world with cardinal points that are always shifting.