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It Wasn’t Her Real Name

Friendship was of no concern to him

no real acquaintances either

several co-workers though

none of whom had affection

for him or he for them

once he did fall in love

and if truth be told

money was exchanged

during each visit

even as his love deepened

then one day she moved

to a larger city

a new life to start

she wrote in a postcard

and he missed a full week

of work, sadness he called

the flu, it was going around,

and the day he returned

a co-worker stabbed him

twice and then himself

no one knew why

they had rarely spoken

the man with no concern for friendship

and no real acquaintances

didn’t die in the office

but on the way to hospital

her name on his lips

and he knew in his heart

it wasn’t her real name.


J. J. Steinfeld lives on Prince Edward Island. He has published nineteen books, including, most recently, Absurdity, Woe Is Me, Glory Be (Poetry, Guernica Editions, 2017), and A Visit to the Kafka Café (Poetry, Ekstasis Editions, 2018). His short stories and poems have appeared in numerous periodicals and anthologies internationally, and his plays have been performed in Canada and the United States.

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