Sassy Wench by Gessy Alvarez

October 8, 2012 § 1 Comment

Father said that if there was a fire and he had to choose between the poet and me, he’d save the poet. I take a good look at the poet as he accepts a cup of tea from me. The cup shakes against his saucer. I smile at him. Free love is our natural inclination, I say. He calls me his sassy wench.

I believe the poet’s in love with my father and obsessed over my dead mother. He tries to see my parents in me. I tell him to stop. I am not my mother. She died after I was born. All I know is what my father wrote about her, and from that desperate perspective, I learned my mother led a scandalous life. Somehow, in between love affairs, Mother found her way into Father’s arms, and, although both abhorred the institution of marriage, they did in fact form a lawful union while I grew inside her belly.

The poet takes my hand and begins to recite a poem he wrote about the spirit of beauty. He no longer brings his wife to the bookstore. She’s pregnant with their first-born. He says she’s homebound, can’t move around much. I asked him once why he married the poor girl. He said he did it to spite his parents.

Italy is on his mind now. He wants to settle there with his wife and child. His unsteady hand sits on my knee. I propose he take me to Italy instead. He grabs my hand and places a languorous kiss on my palm.

For entertainment, I ask that my sister join us. At this, the crooked vein above his brow pulsates. We should leave now and take off like thieves, I say. He stands up ready to pull me with him but stops short. I can feel his reticence.

Father can’t save the poet. I kiss Percy’s lips. Father can’t save me. I press my body against his. Father can’t save himself. I let Percy lead me by the hand.

Father will thank me later.

© 2012 Gessy Alvarez, first appeared at Fictionaut

Gessy Alvarez grew up in New York and New Jersey. She received her MFA from Columbia University in 2010. Her past life included employment stints in fashion, finance, entertainment, and technology. She’s taught fiction in the New York City public school system and at Columbia University Medical Center. She currently holds a job in academia while she finishes work on her first novel. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in Letras Caseras, Pank, Spectrum, and The Rose and the Thorn.

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