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Home: The Toast

You can train a man on most things he needs to know using regular table food, my Auntie Gin says. See this? She pinches an inch of skin above her hip. That’s lard that got that there. That’s the beginning of I don’t give a good goddamn, and I will fuck strangers in your absence. Be a witness to my warning, is my philosophy. Now if I let this continue, the weight, the baby rolls, he will get both scared and curious. That’s a cocktail no man can resist drinking. He don’t know what I’m prepared to do, and that keeps him thirsty. Pretty is overrated. Pretty never held nobody in place but the poor gal trying to maintain it. Lard has its risks, and has been known, in equal shares, to make a winning pie crust and cause heart trouble. You do with that information as you please. She takes a deep crackling drag on a rolled cigarette. See this? She holds the back of her hand under the table lamp and pulls back the skin, that’s what I used to look like, what you still have. Don’t waste it. The hands and the neck give you away every time. God bless Jessica Lange, if it don’t. There are fixes for all your troubles if you know where to start. You gotta swallow trouble at the seed. Adultery, foot-rot, love handles, termites, and I’d even go so far as to include chauvinism. Surprised I knew that word? I’m not living in a cave, girl. I use that satellite dish to educate. We can talk about man and his bad politics if you like, now that requires herbs. Wild trillium, given in small amounts to make his mouth burn, too much though and you got a dead man on your hands. Those complications, you don’t need. You decide how far you want to go, depending on how far he went. STDs, for instance. Stubbing out her cigarette, she flips the latch on my Holly Hobby lunch box and takes out the peanut butter and jelly my mother made. You might as well learn now, cutting the crust cut off your bread is denial. Face facts. She takes a bite. Where was I? STDs, I say. She looks down at the lunch box, back at me, and hands me the sandwich. We’re gonna wait on that one, she says.

Amy Sayre Baptista's writing has appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Luna Luna, Ninth Letter, and other journals. She has received fellowships from SAFTA (2015), CantoMundo (2012), and the Disquiet Literary Festival (2010). She has an MFA in Fiction from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and lives in Chicago, Illinois.

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