Why doesn’t love end when it should?

The man I loved has found someone else. Palm trees lance skies full of low clouds. Sunset breaks like a jellyfish tide. It will rain.

She walks to his door with her wolfhound. I’m shocked seeing how old she is. Black hair, dark eyes, short, thin, not his type. He greets her, hugs her, and the dog, immense, jumps up. She glances in my direction.

What am I doing? Stalking? What is this craziness?

I married him six years ago. We divorced. What am I doing here in a rented car, looking at Jack and this woman? In the cloudy light, her long hair sways; she reaches for his arm. I hear soft rumble of thunder like the dog growling. She’s ordinary, nothing but a dark woman with a huge dog, an eerie look, Jack grinning like a fool at the door.

Don’t let her in.

Don’t don’t don’t don’t let her in.

In Greece, on our honeymoon, Jack found a statue of the goddess Hecate. We laughed, swam, drank too much wine, made love by a sea that hissed against black rocks. I left that small figure among shards and broken shells, dead fish and live gulls on that stony beach. I didn’t like her.

Jack, don’t let her in.

Death walks around these havens where the old come to the humid air, the orange groves, come in their millions, and die, one by one. In a flash he is shadowed, inside, in her arms while a wrongful dark stretches under the palms.

The woman, maiden, mother, crone, whatever she is, reappears, as red sirens rip the distance and some eager ambulance begins begins begins in the dusk-filled street to arrive.

Janet Shell Anderson


Janet has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize for fiction and published by Vestal Review, decomP. FRIGG, The Citron Review, Grey Sparrow, Cease Cows and others.


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