O C T O B E R 2 0 1 3
Guest Contributor: Puran Lucas Perez
My father’s mother’s brother’s wife
once turned over a card in a Tarot reader’s tent
and at that moment the gypsy, Etheria, gasped.
Taking this as a sure sign of looming misfortune
the wife prepared an herbal protective which
— upon drinking down — caused an embolism
in her obliging husband’s brain. Killing him.
Her brother’s death meant that my grandmother
became the sole heir of substantial properties,
titles, and noblesse oblige in the province of Cadiz.
My father, her eldest, stood next in that line.
Knowing this would forbid him from marrying
the comely house maid he had impregnated
he fled to South America, leaving the maid to the
Sisters of Mercy, who took my mother in.
Midwifing me into the light, Sister Ignatia,
had a divine revelation: I was an angel sent,
and she was meant for mothering, not rosaries.
So off she stole me one night into the wide world.
Years later, in London, my train was delayed one
Friday while a suicide was cleared from the tracks.
Rushing across Regent Street I knocked into a lovely
young woman, who pirouetted artfully out of harm’s way.
I married this ballerina who, on an opera tour through
the Balkans, had an affair with a wild-haired conductor.
(Thus our second daughter’s implacable curls.) She confessed
this, fading out of life, holding hands in a cancer ward.
Our curly-haired daughter wed a bright young broker
who whisked her off to Wisconsin and a moneyed life
among the glitterati. As if trying to rectify her bloodline,
she became a pillar of convention, a crusader of normalcy.
But her youngest son, quit Harvard Law and in the throes
of sexual awakening, ran madly off with a young composer;
only to find it was the music maker’s sister he really loved.
He wound up running a B&B with her in Boulder, Colorado.
It’s tempting to say the inception point of all these movies
was Madam Etheria’s gasp on a rainy Spanish afternoon.
But we might just as well say it was the bad sausage she had
for lunch that caused her to stifle her burps that day.