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Climbing Still

Sandra Kolankiewicz

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.

Photo Credit: Emilee Luke, "Golden Hour"

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