The Works of Askold Skalksy
Askold Skalsky has had poems accepted in numerous small press magazines and journals, the latest in Oracle, freefall and Tipton Poetry Journal. Skalsky's work has also been published in Canada, England, and Ireland. Two years ago Askold also received an award from the Maryland Arts Council.
All Poems © Askold Skalsky
Better to die now and get it over with,
I think, getting up in the morning
as the sun is warming the house
in the March wind
and the mouse caught in the trap is clattering
inside the tiles of the bedroom ceiling.
It’s been dragging the trap around
all night, so that even the boys wake up
and can’t go back to sleep. But no one dares
to poke his head up through the slabs
My son has painted his apartment
a glossy turkey red ending in jagged
lines along the ceiling, the color of split
melons or gagged fire, hot and glaring
like icing on a vermilion cake.
We sit and talk in the afternoon
sunlight congealing itself on stucco
walls like the ragged flesh of a flayed giant.
He has used four coats of paint, cheap
slick mandarin drying now in empty cans.
Our eyes float like drowsy bulbs.
We sip water, slur our words. The walls
ooze drops, a scarlet spout, a cored
dark plum, a hemorrhaging womb,
the crimson lips turned inside out
to swallow us. All we can do is stare,
hearing the blood slosh in our chambered hearts.
are for looking,
the leisure time things give themselves
to make something out of that,
a swerve past the familiar
like travelling to Kansas by way of the Caribbean,
the coastline silent from the distance,
the inlets stretching their bright fingers
into land, listening for where you think
you might be,
returning to fields
after the journey, the simple quilt
of afternoons you've seen on the way home.
Tonight I can hear the wind
take turns licking the walls,
trying the chink in the window
with its thin spike tongue
slicing the warmth inside the room.