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Original artwork by Ella Jensen

Held in Their Sight a River

Sandra Kolankiewicz

I won’t talk of your death, instead imagine

the final image you saw through your window, the last

time your wife stroked your cheek, unable to sleep

alongside you but there within reach. The sky

blanched because of November, the fog left the

river, light spent until spring, air beset by

grey cold that replaced the sun for weeks beyond

double-paned glass until your friends surrounded

you with photographs of the early morning mist

rising off the water hiding the rainbow

trout beneath the surface, an image of your

waders drying on your screened-in porch as soon as

the season arrived, there until the trout spell

ended. I understand about your silence

now, how you craved quiet when your empire collapsed, the

sound of the wind in the leaves better than

the blare of honking taxis, the din of voice

and wheel, fresh air instead of smoke or the kind

of foul odor made by poor sanitation,

which we all avoid but sometimes find ourselves

unable to ignore, each city with its

own version of the open sewers found in

countries where people from this one vacation.

Another sort of lifetime passed, not marked by

clocks but by experience. All that was left

you gave away to people who didn’t know

your name, who wouldn’t have recognized you in

the day to day, who never held in their sight

a river and needed no pardon at their end.