What Marie Didn’t Hear

The sidewalks are dirty, and your stockings are torn.
Please, before I have to tug at your sleeve,
embarrass myself, before my fears make me wait,
stand like a statue, this half-smile fading to memory of teeth,
finally to something that resembles a snarl,
and you become angry, more bored still than the ghosts
in this city that have forgotten cotton and clean water.
Let’s finish off the tide, mark the sand with
trails that interweave and cross, trails that meet and fall
together. I’m tired, Marie, exhausted by the street lights
and the noise. We have become accustomed.
We have become immune. Now something inside me is
stirring, cracking, waiting like a lion to come out and roar,
pounce on the hunters that have come to shoot
or, worse, tranquilize, make us into specimens behind
bars, notations on notepads, subjects for show and tell.
I’m afraid, and your cabin is so close. Not a cabin, really,
but it can do. It does do if done purely.
I want to run, I want to run, avoid the seagulls snatching
all that glimmers from the sand, the great black birds
eating beside the road, men who drop buttons
into blind men’s hats. I have to avoid the smoke,
the crumbled concrete in the alleys, the cobble stones
they’re paving over, smothering like I am smothering
now, trying to escape this war, trying to make you see.
What Marie Didn’t Hear by Sandra Kolankiewicz

Photo used under CC.


About Author


Sandra Kolankiewicz's poems and short stories have appeared in many journals, including Gargoyle, Per Contra, Bluestem, Five Poetry Review, Cortland Review, Chaffey Review, Rhino, New Plains Lit, and Bellingham Review. Turning Inside Out won the Black River Competition at Black Lawrence Press. Blue Eyes Don't Cry won the Hackney Award for the Novel. She teaches Developmental English in West Virginia.

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