Spontaneous Combustion


I wished for him a dead child by the poor

Piggly Wiggly which has by now, of course,

become a Giant Eagle.  I hoped and the thing


occurred! A blast in the rail yard, his family

poised by a Subaru in the parking lot, his face

later edited from the evening news, camera


filming just the dusty toddler in his arms,

limp and bruised against a dirty white shirt.  I hid in

my room afterwards for those powdered little


legs, flop footed, the end of my sleeping. At

the funeral, I wondered no one accused,

instead stared at the box heaped with daisies.


No lilies, his wife had told the papers. Not for

us.  Only he and I know why.  Or do we?

Most likely he never learned my name,


doesn’t care that for years after the rope, the blade, the

blood in the sink, I crept from

window to window, saw a doctor once a week.


I still do. How many more like me spread

throughout the city? A few?  Dozens?  Until

the morning of that fertilized desire,


concurrent thought, the explosion we begot:

chaos, sirens, smoke, our spirits immediately

freed: finally, he wails, in the end, grieves.







Photo by Walkin on Sunshine on Flickr

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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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