The Story of Cruel Peter
When I was twenty my uncle gave me a book of love poems. “To Helen, love
Uncle Peter,” he wrote in the opening leaves of the aged brown book.
I didn’t like the poems, they were of the funerary sort and dragged down
the best of us:
“I pray for a camel,” began one and ended at “love left the
copse, scampered circular.” I could have killed him, leaving me this dripping
book of bruised hearts.
Uncle Peter wasn’t really my uncle but liked to call himself an uncle;
the title felt jolly and jesty to him but it only made me think of an aging
convalescent in a sanatorium; beet red and ready to defend himself against
the world. Like
Hans wandering the mountain trails and halls of his gloomy sanatorium trying
to engage his fellow patients.
Later on when we fell in love, or when we fell in the way of love, I should
say, our bodies tumbling on armchairs, our hearts beating down dark halls,
he was always angry at me for coming home late, for dropping things and drinking
too much wine. I’m responsible for myself I would say, I’m in my
own parade. But he disagreed, never believed the body really had that much
He was working on a book about a man who beats his wife and dog. He beats his
dog more than the wife and the lines repeat themselves throughout the story.
He beats his dog and then his wife, he wrote, then again, and I told him there
should be more to the story but he didn’t agree. This is the true story,
he tells me.
Return to Archive
FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 34 | Fall 2011