The Works of Askold Skalksy 

Askold Skalsky has had poems accepted in numerous small press magazines and journals, the latest in Oraclefreefall 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

Red Room 


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.