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 FictionFour 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.

 

 

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