The Collapsar publishes new poetry, fiction, and nonfiction every other month, and new culture writing weekly.

Five Poems by Cari Oleskewicz

Five Poems by Cari Oleskewicz



After a lunch like that with the salad’s blushed
butter oak and dark oily tuna and the thistle
turned to artichoke, one wants to make love.

Perhaps with the butcher. The tall one. The one
with forearms so strong and tempting - undeniably
the finest limbs to be found in the Central Market.

Think of the flexing and the way his sleeves have
been pushed to the elbow. It’s warmer today
than anyone expected. This February sunshine

is a rebellion. No hat. He has dark, choppy hair
matching the feather of his forearms. Think of wrists--
their beautiful bendso unlike other wrists. And then

fingers. Such fingers. Red at the nails with labor’s trail,
and one wonders, after lunch, about those fingers--
about how rhapsodic they might feel on human flesh.




in a Great White Heron’s

The bird delicately pressing

green and tense like



“I should have paid attention to all the squeaks in the chairs” Julie Schenecker, January 28, 2011


All the attention to
the squeaks I have.

Squeaks paid to have
all the chairs’ attention.

The attention squeaks
in all I should have paid.

The chairs should have
all the attention.

The chairs.
The squeaks.



I know where Bellany’s travelers live.
I have seen the cave of beaked creatures –
those who linger on shoulders
who follow, uninvited.

There was much anxiety.
There was much waiting.

We did not understand
what we saw
but felt the universe thinning.

Warned by spiders
too patient
in their telling –
they watched.

I speak mountain.

Pulpy hands stroke the hillside.
You’ll pluck thorns
from flesh for weeks.

Trees do ballet in the river.
Reaching – branches reaching –
grace – splintered grace –

Oh, such internal clawing.
What grip. What failures.



Capture won’t you that glorious hesitation
amidst the chiming of persuasive bells.

Start with a peal – some frenzied applause

matching your open-jawed laugh.
Before we are called to celebrate

precision: that catching,
that pause. A gap in the beat of time.

Stop everything.

I’ll find you in the bell loft
wrapping up a watchful smile

quiet and brimming with conversations.
Tune for me the soundbow.

Make ready the space we’ll rest
in for one moment. We’ll live in something

brief. The handstroke beckons,
uncovering us and claiming

the breath of a single toll.




Cari Oleskewicz divides her time between Tampa, Florida and Florence, Italy. Her work has been published in The Found Poetry Review, JAB Magazine, Josephine Quarterly, Blotterature Literary Magazine, Pork & Gin, The Commonline Journal, Imitation Fruit Literary Journal and Sasee Magazine. She is working on a book of travel essays.

Bayard Godsave on Steven Church's Ultrasonic

Album Review: Kevin O'Rourke on Oneohtrix Point Never