"Constructive Chaos Composition 507" by Rachel Citrino, Paint and Ink on Paper, 22" x 30", Mud Season Review
Image: “Constructive Chaos Composition 507” by Rachel Citrino, Paint and Ink on Paper, 22″ x 30″


Sandra Kolankiewicz

Featured Poet


Chronos in the Kitchen

At some point the cats—who routinely prowl
the windowsills and countertops to stare

out the back window and make little sounds

about the birds—must have stepped on the clock
radio in the corner, setting the

time so the station comes to life at 5

a.m. and goes off at 5:55—
and cannot be resurrected. Daily

I consider fives: in China, pride; in

Tarot, anxiety; lone soul in the
middle of a die, guarded by others—

or detained by them. For those 55

minutes the world is dire but for the accents,
the predictability of the news

of the day constant, the clock

adjusting even to daylight savings, not failing
except when unplugged—and then refusing

to reset itself. We turn the square box

in our hands, its numbers flipping, and we
wonder at the missing digital chips, the lack

of interfaces. Even when the sound is on

we can hear gears working,
undercurrent to the room, immortal.


"Constructive Chaos Composition 502" by Rachel Citrino, Paint and Ink on Paper, 22" x 30", Mud Season Review

Constructive Chaos Composition 502  
22″ x 30″



When she finally told us, these were her
words: If he had lived, he might have been a
vegetable, which to us did not sound
bad; he’d still be here if only in a
different form. Perhaps he had always
been a mandrake instead of a man, and
therefore we would exchange root for root, not
father for cauliflower. Never mind
that later we were like tumbleweed, rolled
through temporary scenes, the metaphor
of the red shoes that cannot be unstrapped,
simile to the box of chocolates
that will not be denied, output stunted,
our survival dependent on the state
of our hidden corm, which was withered and
undeveloped, the same as missing, and
made us desire the reserves of others,
tell ourselves we borrowed only not to
perish, for we were vegetables too.


"Life Constructed IX" by Rachel Citrino, Paint and Ink on Paper, 33" x 25.5", Mud Season Review

Life Constructed IX
33″ x 25.5″


Is Over, Instead

The garden kept shifting under my feet,
for who wants to stay up all night, talking
of stone walls and successful transplants of
rare performers? That’s why I kept falling back
from the ladies, couldn’t stop reminding
myself to forget. Here is how it happened:
after the planting season, we got caught
joking about the casket, which happens
to a lot of people who have held
things in, living just the way their parents
told them, inherited politics side
by side with the community bonds and
market funds, which makes formulating your
own connection with the world in some sort
of philosophical perspective next
to impossible without tragedy. Then
hedges become walls and perennials
the children who don’t know to go away
when the season is over, instead hang
around invisibly underground all
the cold winter while frost bends the soil that
would otherwise crumble, stirring and sought
with gloved fingers in the spring as they wake
under brittle leaves to find they survived.

"Constructive Chaos Composition 513" by Rachel Citrino, Paint and Ink on Paper, 22" x 30", Mud Season Review

Constructive Chaos Composition 513
22″ x 30″

Refrigerator Note

Quick, I have six minutes before I walk
out the door into the cold, a photo
leaning on my dresser. At the bedside,
another. When is the last time we looked
at them together? Or apart, the end
step, of course, as I pluck this whisker from
my chin, spy an unruly eyebrow in
my magnifying mirror, the last thing
I check before I step into the world since
my face has changed, and you can see right up
my nose. Sit down and play a game of cards
with me, I say. This time I will listen,
next time will never come unless we call
the kitchen a field, a furrow, plant one
more line in the succession here, for while
we harvest in the morning, we sow in
the afternoon, a daily effort, or
we’ll have nothing to eat at the end of
the season when at last we come to rest.


"Life Constructed XII" by Rachel Citrino, Paint and Ink on Paper, 33" x 25.5", Mud Season Review

Life Constructed XII
33″ x 25.5″


Nearly 200 of Sandra Kolankiewicz‘s poems and stories have been published since 1980. Her chapbooks Turning Inside Out and The Way You Will Go are available from Black Lawrence Press and Finishing Line Press, respectively. When I Fell, her novel with 78 illustrations, can be found at Web-e-Books. She vows on a regular basis to make a serious attempt to send her short story collections out there, but the lively energy of creating in the day-to-day is far more fun, so she instead she lives her life, writes every day, and hopes for a miracle.

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