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The Natural Order

Story by Barbara Jacksha (Read author interview) December 15, 2003

After her divorce, Anna fled to a cottage by the sea.

Every day she wandered the shoreline, collecting shells and smooth-washed bones. She studied the wind-whipped language of the grasses, the sketches drawn by insects in the sand. She cataloged the birds that joined her: pelican, egret, sandlapper, tern.

When men happened by, she cataloged them as well: pretender, braggart, renegade, rogue. They flitted through the seasons, migrating, seeking a transitory perch. At first she offered them conversation, set out fresh water and food, but in time, she realized that all things must learn to thrive on their own.

Anna withdrew to the cottage, fluffed her pillows, and pampered herself with books and fine English teas. For the first time, she closed her shutters, and in the muffled surf, heard the sound of nature charting its next course.

About the Author

Barbara Jacksha is an editor and co-founder of the literary journal Cezanne’s Carrot (www.cezannescarrot.org). Her work has appeared in the W. W. Norton anthology Flash Fiction Forward, as well as in such publications as Beloit Fiction Journal, The Summerset Review, Vox, Carve Magazine, Mad Hatter’s Review, Margin, Peregrine, Mindprints, Poetry Midwest, Tattoo Highway, SmokeLong Quarterly, Dark Moon Lilith, Talking Stick, and Quercus Review. Barbara’s work has received many honors and been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. For more information, visit her website: www.barbarajacksha.com. Barbara lives near Santa Fe, New Mexico, with her husband, resident canines, and several neighborhood coyotes.

This story appeared in Issue Two of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Two
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