Today, a new poem by Gabriella Belfiglio.


Here is the Scene:

I am at my girlfriend’s sister’s house,
it is Memorial day—
the American flag flaps red, white, and blue
like a warning at the front door.

The backyard is full of glee—
children splashing pool water into the hot
Florida air like fountains. Their parents
are mingling: margaritas cold in the cup
of their hands.

I am sitting on the back porch trying to remember
not to call my girlfriend honey or sweetie. I don’t
dare sit next to her, even though everyone knows.
I am not the first girl
she’s brought home.

Her sister introduces me to the neighbors
as the house guest.

I find a baby to hold and hide inside
rocking him to sleep. The weight of him
is satisfying—his balmy skin sticks to my own.
Even after his eyes have stopped fluttering,
I hold on.

I am doing ok until my girlfriend’s mother
hands me the camera.
She finds me, in a room full of people,
and hands it to me.
It is a calculated move.
Will you take a family picture for us?
she asks me smoothly.

My girlfriend gathers amidst her
parents, her sister and brother-in-law,
the two little ones in front.

A stranger approaches me,
Here, she says reaching for the camera,
don’t you want to be in the picture?
My stomach drops.
I’m not invited.

I crouch on the other side
of the pool—close to the water’s edge,


Born in Philadelphia, GABRIELLA M. BELFIGLIO holds a BA in Creative Writing from Antioch University and an MFA in Poetry from American University. Her writing has appeared in several journals and anthologies, including Folio, The Centrifugal Eye, and the award-winning Poetic Voices without Borders. She now lives in Brooklyn with her partner and three cats.

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2 Responses to “Gabriella M. Belfiglio, “The House Guest””

  1. Kim Brandon 10 May 2012 at 8:56 AM #

    Love how this poems take a picture of someone forced behind the camera.

    • Jameson Fitzpatrick 11 May 2012 at 6:48 PM #

      Me too, Kim! Not to mention the liminal speaker’s positioning “close to the water’s edge” at the end.

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