In a Thousand Words or Less
Every blue-eyed, brown-haired man is a liar—
like this Nature Boy driving his five
speed to the mountains and never
once rolling down the windows
once he gets there, bald tires
gliding the crowded two-
lane highway, looking
for a place wide enough to turn around until my
gaze empties out his streaked window.
Space meets space, creates a void
mountains can’t fill, trees can’t
cover. When I reach to
them, I smell
their colors changing to rust, the moth who chooses
headlights, sucked over the top, hurtling
with no sense of direction to crash
out of breath on the wet
Route 80 to Jackson Hole
I pound my heels against the dash
and squeeze my thighs together.
I can’t ask you to stop
at one of these lost stations
without feeling dirty.
You slide us along the highway,
boot on the gas,
a cruel child unable to give up the game
another is a afraid to play
The high tension poles filing past on the plains
like markers of our silence
know the truth: we are strangers.
Even the guise of friendship is frozen
in this Wyoming basin,
hungering in the snow beside the road
like the starving elk that I keep pointing to
and you can never see.
Sandra Kolankiewicz has most recently appeared in Bellingham Review and The Cortland Review. Turning Inside Out is available from Black Lawrence Press, and Blue Eyes Don't Cry won the 2008 Hackney Literary Award for the novel. contact