Members of the Empire
And after hearing their stories, I felt
somehow they were mine to consider, though
the next step was not clear. Not until later
when I realized others felt the same way,
at the same time. Eventually we
wore our nerves wrapped around our forearms like
snakes or one of those slave bracelets, a
chain attaching finger to wrist. Each
his own method of ornamentation.
When we recognized each other, we did
apologize for our omission, the
making of an error we knew was a
mistake in advance, being unable
to help ourselves, fastening our restraints
in the morning as easily as we
slipped on our glasses, slid our feet into
old slippers before remembering once
again the morning paper had become
antiquated and would not be lying
on the side walk or front porch, reason to
stand in the front yard calling out “Neighbor!
Neighbor!” as if the surrounding houses
and yards had suddenly become empty.
Nearly 150 of Sandra Kolankiewicz’s poems and stories have appeared in journals over the past thirty-five years and in the anthologies Sudden Fiction, Four Minute Fiction, and Joy: Interrupted. Her chapbook Turning Inside Out won the Black River Chapbook Competition at Black Lawrence Press. Blue Eyes Don’t Cry won the Hackney Award for the Novel. She currently lives with her family in Marietta, Ohio, and teaches at a community college in West Virginia.