Postcard prose - Issue 05 | June 2009

On Naxos

by Janice D. Soderling

I arrive on Naxos disconsolate as Ariadne and find a seaside apartment an hour’s ride out of Hora. I say I will take it if they fix the lock on the entrance door. The girl assures me that her father patrols the grounds day and night, but I insist.

Baba, baba, she shouts and Baba appears, not pleased to have his dinner interrupted. I watch him work and wonder if the profanities, Greek but understandable, are directed at the lock or at me.

With a grand gesture, he indicates that the door is now secure. I empty my backpack to claim the two rooms as my home, then discover that the lock on the patio door is broken too.

*  *  *

I fall asleep reading Vrettakos: Love is in my heart like an almond tree branch / in a glass of water. When I wake up, the patio is shadowed and I am no happier than before.

The sun hits the mountain and shatters into shards of yellow, orange, rose, violet. Night arrives quickly and utterly. I sit unmoving in the glow of a single candle, the silver moon glinting high above me, thin as a bent needle.

Then, in the distance, the high-pitched yelps of a small-sized dog. Before it has finished five staccato warnings, the first one echoes back, distorted and amplified. The mongrel replies with increasing ferocity, yaps frantically at itself for half an hour or more. I imagine a lone little bundle of fur, wild-eyed and panting.

An enemy is out there, concealed by tangles of grapevines, inching toward the dog, inching toward me, through the olive groves, past marble ruins of fallen pillars, stalking us through the unlocked doors of memory.

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