Bessie Fidelia’s First Impressions

Bessie Fide came to the world starved.

Her mother’s nails uncut, sharp, intrusive.

The father has no face and the women are on their knees.

The siblings have gaping mouths and hollow eyes.


The mother’s feeding hand is shaking.

The food rarely meets the mouth.

Falling on the floor, that’s where mother’s heart lies.

The brothers lick the ground.


The daughters stomp on the spread out pieces.

Bessie’s father is a flâneur, a shadowy dancer lingering on night-time sidewalks.

The mother is avoided, a forgotten memorandum.

As she tries to rock Bessie Fide to sleep.


The mother’s tears land on the baby’s bib.

Bessie studies her mother’s features, the detrimental breathing, the corners of her mouth

Hanging low, her eyebrows shivering.

The first thing Bessie learns is depression.


Nobody can hear the father’s disturbing song.

His imbalanced feet, his negligence and blindness.

The father can’t find the keyhole.

He always gives up and falls apart on the welcome mat.


Bessie Fide is never cold at night, her skin is thick as she becomes a young woman.

The father is delirious, the mother a wreck.

And she empties bottles as she tumbles around.

Dreaming about a world outside of her four walls.


“La Comtesse de Keller” by Alexandre Cabanel (1823-1889)

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