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El Camino Del Mar at Dusk

First published in The Coachella Review in the Winter 2018 issue

by AK Krajewska

Happy Autumnal Equinox to all in the Northern Hemisphere! I've got a poem for you today. There is a certain peculiar feeling I get at the autumnal turn. It's a gestalt, a felt sense, some kind of suchness or maybe haecceity of this change, like I can feel the shift of the entire world though the complete combination of all the little shifts all together. Actually, to call it a feeling would imply it's an emotion only and that's entirely too single-dimensional Continue reading (385 words)

The Gate of Pinecones

First published in The Coachella Review in the Winter 2018 issue

by AK Krajewska

I've found it challenging to place poems with nature imagery that's explicitly West Coast or even more, specifically Californian. In grad school, my advisor called it the four seasons bias. If it's a nature poem, it better follow the four seasons climate or good luck to you getting published. So when I'm browsing Duotrope for likely journals... Continue reading (399 words)

Intrusion into the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant

by AK Krajewska

I created this poem using cut-up technique, combining bits of my poetry with the poetic excerpt from Expert Judgment on Markers to Deter Inadvertent Human Intrusion into the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. By volume, it has much more of my poetry about wolves and coyotes than warnings about nuclear waste, but a little nuclear waste goes a long way, as we all know. Continue reading (681 words)

Fragments from the first year of the plague

Sort-of-poems and sort-of-word-art fragments

by AK Krajewska

During the first year of the pandemic, I could not even finish a poem. I just wrote fragments. However I was able to kind of draw, and so I ended up with a lot of bits of words and ink and pen drawings. Continue reading (610 words)

What the Herb Girl Likes: An Old Poem, with Backstory

by AK Krajewska

1997 was the year of my greatest poetic recognition, and I've never lived up to it since. It's a bit tough when that happens at age 18 to ever feel like you're good enough. To begin with, I was chosen to read at the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival, which is held every summer in Connecticut in a... Continue reading (733 words)

Imperfect Produce Demonstration at Spin City Cafe & Laundromat

by AK Krajewska

OK, one green bell pepper exhibits
Some imperfect radial symmetry:
One apex nubbin is less nubbiny
Than its three self-same fellow lumps.
The zucchini could not, I will grant you
Moonlight as a straight edge at the SAT,
But it's not far off. And the kale? Fine,
firm, bright, and crinkly;...
      Continue reading (100 words)

Night-Time Skin Ritual

by AK Krajewska

Natural regenerative process begins 45 minutes prior
and goes on dates with sensation.
The iconic pure opening & reception seats, chocolate & wine,
culminating in a glorious finale with Supreme Eye.
He took and you didn’t. Gigantic lamp can be stories that grow into a tale.
Got a heart?
      Continue reading (263 words)

A Pan That is Cake Sized: Recipe for Shrove Tuesday

by AK Krajewska

My child demands a loud noise an oil a Lent a flour cake made of flat, white, and spongy; a very loud noise, eggshells, compost, of course. My child is a picky eater so of course greasy small fingers. Cake demands: my child, my child is flour, eggs, milk, butter, preheat the oven to gasmark 3,... Continue reading (325 words)

They might be wild roses

by AK Krajewska

They might be wild roses

he is going

London is awake,

discover a secret under unnatural lights

dancing queen was the worst.


God inhaled

authenticity do not apply to his work.

Don't imagine food, supplies, and babies.

They... Continue reading (275 words)

Alchemy Practicum and Goat Visit

by AK Krajewska

Goat, you were the only one among
the three goats who pressed his head
against the fence when Rachel and I
came to you after picking crab apples
and black walnuts. I returned
to the paradise of childhood labors:
Piling walnuts onto a flat wicker basket
for Lena’s dyes, their sun-warmed green...
      Continue reading (356 words)

Residual Heat at the Decommissioned Synchrotron

by AK Krajewska

We step over fading caution tape, a Geiger counter in your hand
   ticking the steady tick of background radiation.

Up and down the textured metal stairs,
   my hands slide on cold handrails, you walk ahead.

The urge to touch you radiates through me
   wave after wave, something I cannot...
      Continue reading (133 words)

Fire Danger: High

by AK Krajewska

"But you burn, and I know it."  
    Adrienne Rich, “Orion”

As we wind up the Berkley hills, brown foam
peels off the dash of his hot Dodge Dart.
I crank down the windows for a sun-singed draft.

The smoldering tip of his black clove cigarette.
His afternoon stubble, the clear sky, the dry...
      Continue reading (135 words)

How the War Started

by AK Krajewska

When Xerxes wrote again: “Deliver up your arms,” Leonidas wrote back: “Come and take them.”

Black eye. The left one. Stubble. Leather jacket and underneath
a black t-shirt with “Fuck You” printed in white. Buckled boots.

His car, named Zeke,
is a '73 Dodge Dart...
      Continue reading (216 words)

The Longfellow Bridge

by AK Krajewska

The T runs down the heart
of the bridge.

The cars shake in the dim light
left by the dregs of the day.

May-green trees and May-green weeds
shine, still slick and fresh from rain.

I walk on the edge of the bridge
by a low stone wall.

The rainfall slows.
The Red Line train is gone.

I walk...
      Continue reading (129 words)

Airplanes Over the Bog

by AK Krajewska

In response to Brigit Pegeen Kelly’s “The Pear Tree”

Bagno. The name means bog.
The village may have been a bog
before the drainage ditches
gridded it into kolkhoz.

Crop dusters buzz in the cloudy...
      Continue reading (495 words)

Like Two Dogs Dancing

by AK Krajewska

[Content warning: animal death]

He turns into the comforter of rain,
no umbrella or hat, just the quilted
sidewalk. The spume from wheels passing
through the deep puddle by the stopped
storm drain arcs into the wet air
like the last blood of his black dog
that as a child he...
      Continue reading (134 words)

The Wandering Daughter Returns to Her Neglected Patrimony

by AK Krajewska

From the half-finished bunker of the concrete basement
That was to be the foundation of our now-abandoned
Familial abode that I will neither finish nor furnish
Nor people with young from my rebel womb,
I throw my gaze down the hill of dead orchard,
Across the green lake poisoned with runoff,...
      Continue reading (236 words)


by AK Krajewska

The tall, even pines
   with sand at their feet
      brood black between their trunks.

 The winter-dried reeds
   frozen solid in the iced-over marsh
      rustle in the western wind
that blows from the red,
   red disk of the solstice sun
      solemnly sliding down the midwinter sky,
      Continue reading (148 words)

In the Park with Grandmother, Olsztyn, Poland 1981

by AK Krajewska

for Babcia Wańdzia

Though she pulled it back into a bun
   black wisps of her hair haloed
      her face.

The hard blue sky behind her
   run through with a single white thread
      of a contrail.

Her skin was like walnut.
   With the sun behind her
      she smiled at me in...
      Continue reading (89 words)

One July at 2 a.m.

by AK Krajewska

Speeding down the kudzu highway 
where Atlanta’s orange glow chokes 
stars, he forced the '82 stick- 
shift Toyota too close to its 
effective frequency. I thought 
the vibrations would shatter us.

He forgot the front-door key and had to climb 
through our bedroom window. 
Poison sumac grew...
      Continue reading (110 words)


by AK Krajewska

In that moment I wonder
   was Freud right after all,
is the female nothing, nothing
   but the absence of the male?
Am I real or a black void
   of soft, organic warmth,
depersonalized fecundity, animal blood,
   alien slime, not a person,
only provisional consciousness
   that moves towards...
      Continue reading (188 words)


by AK Krajewska

I am not a hole,
   but in this moment
I become it.
   When the act is finished
and the plug is gone
   I am no longer whole.
Desire covers the futility
   of the thrusting.
If for a moment I regain consciousness
   I think “how ridiculous,”
lose all suspension of disbelief
   and see sex as...
      Continue reading (87 words)

His Eyes

by AK Krajewska

Ten years in these eucalyptus groves
   where iodine winds
      shuffle menthol gum leaves
         I’ve pressed aromatic poultices
            against the scar of your memory.

There’s nothing. Nothing behind your blue
   eyes, lord of lies, evil magnet,
      lodestone of my worst nature,
      Continue reading (106 words)

Discontent – 280 North

by AK Krajewska

The blue silhouettes of mountain pines
   cut like saw teeth against the tangerine sunset.

 Metal skeletons of high voltage pylons
   unspool threads of electricity.

Power lines crosshatch
   white tiger stripes of evening clouds.

 “Do you feel the wind,
   shaking the car?” he asks.

      Continue reading (120 words)

The Progression of Sunset Over Park Presidio

by AK Krajewska

Down feathers of cirrus clouds
   curl in the evening-blue sky
      crossed with black power lines.

Behind the cypress and eucalyptus,
   the blood-orange sun melts into the Pacific,
      spilling its juice into the clouds.

 Cold evening rises from the roots
   of blue eucalyptus stands
      Continue reading (122 words)

Foghorn in the Garden

by AK Krajewska

Howl and answer of the summer foghorn
   and I kneel by the bed of the disused garden.

Sun on my back quickly passes;
   high fog or low clouds flee before the wind.

Howl and answer of the coastal foghorn
   and wind shakes the neighbor’s redwood.
Shadows of clouds fly on the concrete
      Continue reading (85 words)

Flat Tire

by AK Krajewska

Rain in the red forest 
Rain on the rocks 
Rock chips on the road Rock chip in the tire

Tired tire thumps 
Wet scenic pull-off 
Wet needles, wet leaves 
Car jack and donut

Seek a big rock 
Wedge in the front wheel 
Jack up the jack 
Rotate the wheel

Wheel home crooked 
Crooked slow wheels...
      Continue reading (86 words)

Dry Season

by AK Krajewska

It should be sodden:
   Rain-beaten leaves float in the puddles,
      furtive umbrellas cross the Peace Plaza—
Trap the rain’s tap-tap tattoo
   under sound studios of taut tenting
      that smell of wet wool cuffs—
Cold fingers wrap the plastic grips
   and thumb the toggle that erects
      Continue reading (122 words)

The Photograph We Didn’t Take at Baker Beach

by AK Krajewska

Come with me
     past the serpentine meadow, through the gate of sea pines
          hung with garlands of pinecones and crow song.

 Blackberry brambles finish fruiting.
     What has not been harvested dries on the branch.
          Wild grasses susurrate in the rising wind.

 A prairie...
      Continue reading (171 words)

Jane Austen's Shadow

by AK Krajewska

Harold Bloom (corpulent-lipped
under-table caresser of the young
and lip-sealed unwilling fearful
thinking of her career that he cannot
aid but can destroy)
says that the Western Canon
is a Hotel with limited Rooms therein
from which one must Evict
its current Occupant to take the slot
on the...
      Continue reading (92 words)