Yellow Mama Archives II

Louella Lester

Acuff, Gale
Ahern, Edward
Allen, R. A.
Alleyne, Chris
Andes, Tom
Arnold, Sandra
Aronoff, Mikki
Ayers, Tony
Baber, Bill
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Barker, Tom
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Bellani, Arnaav
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Burke, Wayne F.
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Centorbi, David Calogero
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Lucas, Gregory E.
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Mannone, John C.
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Williams, K. A.
Wilsky, Jim
Wiseman-Rose, Sophia
Woods, Jonathan
Young, Mark
Zackel, Fred
Zelvin, Elizabeth
Zeigler, Martin
Zimmerman, Thomas
Zumpe, Lee Clark

Until I Wrestled It Back


Louella Lester


          My roommate’s boyfriend brought him over and let him bound into the living room. When they left to see a movie, he stayed. Settled right into the couch, all muscled haunches and unblinking eyes.

          I brought him some water, it was the polite thing to do, and at first I thought he was watching me. Then I saw he was focused on something over my shoulder, in the same way my high school drama teacher had taught us to look just above the audience if we were nervous. It endeared him to me, the thought that I somehow made him nervous. What I didn’t know was that he wasn’t uncomfortable at all, he was eyeing my shadow.

          Before I knew it my roommate had moved out and he had moved in. At first, when we made what I thought was love, I could smell bursts of earth, seeds, and leaves, like the damp forest floor.

          As time went on, he started to come home later each Friday night. His paycheque decomposed into pocket change that spilled out when he dropped his jeans on the floor. He’d leap onto the bed. Roll over. Start to snore, while I cowered, my hair caught in his antlers.

           I often tried to tell him my concerns, but he knew how to distract me with his whisky and salt-lick lips. That was how, one night, he was able to do it. To reach behind my back and steal my shadow. Pull until it was thin like an over-stretched slingshot. So thin that it would have ripped in two if I hadn’t let it go.

          It flew past him and hit the wall. Slid down to the floor in a rubbery mess. When I reached down to pick it up, he pawed it under his side of the bed. “Leave it alone,” he whispered through gritted teeth, making sure I knew who controlled the forest.

          My shadow lay there collecting dust under the bed for months. Lay there long enough for me to forget. Forget its beauty. Its strength. Its size. Forget it was mine.

          Maybe if I had been a better housekeeper he wouldn’t have, one night, forced me to clean every nook and cranny. I wouldn’t have pushed the broom under the bed. Swept out the mess. Found the edge of my shadow. Wrapped it around my waist and pulled it out into the open.

          Maybe he wouldn’t have trotted into the bedroom. Caught my shadow’s tail, tried to yank it away from me then, weakened by a sneezing fit, lost his grip. Maybe my shadow wouldn’t have flown free. Taking me along with it. Right out the window.


Louella Lester is a writer/photographer in Winnipeg, Canada. Her writing has appeared in CleaverMacQueen’s QuinterlyLitro, Five Minutes, SoFloPoJo, Daily DrunkSix Sentences, New Flash Fiction, Reflex Fiction, and a variety of other journals & anthologiesHer Flash-CNF book, Glass Bricks, is published by At Bay Press (April 2021). 

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