Category Archives: The Morning Prayer
The following short story was published in Best Lesbian Love Stories 2003 by Alyson press.
Seven twenty five – Saturday morning. The night had been another New Yorker hot and muggy, and though we had the two fans angled at the bed so that the air crisscrossed over our bodies, last night’s lovemaking had soaked both the bed and us. The sheet was turned down so that the air from the fans hit us directly. The evaporation from the bed cooled us off as we lay next to each other face up. My left hand was on Esther’s thigh, her right hand on mine.
Our bodies were still new to each other; we had met two months ago in the beginning of May on the dance floor at a friend’s party. And it seemed that we danced around each other for a while, meeting again by chance at a poetry reading and again at the Rubyfruit Bar ‘till I finally got up the nerve to ask her out for coffee.
We spent hours talking on the sofa at the Big Cup, oblivious to the swirl of gay boys around us. The guys behind the counter finally had to kick us out so they could close. Esther was a Chelsea girl, so I walked her to her apartment. As I kissed her at the lobby door, my knees felt like they would buckle under any second. She asked me if I wanted to come upstairs; I declined, saying I was sort of an old-fashioned girl and I wanted our relationship to build slowly, steadily. Knowing full well as I said this that the anticipation leading up to that first time would only serve to fan the fire of our desire.
And so now in mid July, it was a little less than a week since we had begun to fulfill those desires that had taken root with the late-night kisses, the long walks, the reading of poetry to each other that had begun in May. We’d make love for hours, and in the morning our bodies would be exhausted from the lack of sleep. At work, my colleagues would question me when they saw me staring off into the distance, smiling a mysterious, mischievous smile.
Seven thirty. Bong!! The bells from the Transfiguration Church down the block started ringing.
“What the hell is that?” asked Esther.
“Oh! I said. “That’s the bell for the Angelus Dei.”
Without saying a word, I rolled out of bed and headed for the living room and my bookcases. Returning with my St. Joseph’s Daily Missal open in my hand, I said “The Angelus Dei.” “It’s one of the prayers that you can say in the morning, for indulgences, so you spend less time in purgatory burning off minor sins so you can get into heaven faster. Indulgences are sort of like………………religious coupons.”
Esther stared at me, her eyes wide in disbelief, giving me that look I had seen before on the faces of other Jewish lovers.
“What! Alessandra, how would you like it if……….”
“If I were Jewish and someone was constantly pushing their religion, their Christian holidays down my throat,” I said, completing her sentence. That stopped her cold; she wasn’t expecting the speed or accuracy of my acknowledgment.
“Trust me,” I repeated. “Lie down, close your eyes. Come on, do it! Please!”
With an exasperated sigh, she lay back down and shut her eyes.
“I adore you with the most profound humility.”
With my fingertips, I traced the outline of her breastbone, the articulation and slope of her ribs, the fanning out of the fifth and sixth ribs leading to creamy white soft breasts, circled the brown-pink areola surrounding her nipples, the skin of the areola puckered and her nipples stood erect.
“I praise you and give you thanks with all my heart for the favors you have bestowed on me.”
With my tongue, I licked what my fingertips had explored. I sucked and gently bit her nipples, till she let out a deep guttural moan.
“Your goodness has brought me safely to the beginning of this day.”
I brushed and nuzzled her pubic hair and her upper thigh with the side of my head like a grateful cat. This made Esther relax her muscles, her thighs parted like the Red Sea. And then cupping her clit with my lips, I blew a warm gush of air that perfumed the bedroom with the smell of her.
“I offer you my whole being and in particular all my thoughts, words and actions.”
I kissed her now parted lips, our tongues entwined. I gently lay on top of her, her body now pure submission as she whispered, “Amen.”
© 2003 –Vittoria repetto
Vittoria repetto is a native downtown lesbian butch who grew up in the Greenwich Village. She is the daughter of immigrant Italian parents; from Liguria on her father’s side and Lombardy on her mother’s side.
Vittoria repetto has been published in Mudfish, Voices in Italian Americana, Rattle, Lips, The Paterson Literary Review, Italian Americana, Unsettling American: An Anthology of Contemporary Multicultural Poetry, Identity Lessons: Learning American Style, The Milk of Almonds: Italian American Women Writers on Food & Culture, and Harrington Lesbian Fiction Quarterly among others.
She has a chapbook entitled Head For the Van Wyck that contains a poem that her current publisher refused to print for fear of being sued by Camille Paglia.
In 2006, Guernica Editions published her first full length poetry book, Not Just A Personal Ad.
Since its release in Fall 2006 Vittoria repetto’s first poetry book Not Just A Personal Ad has won accolades; in a Lambda Book Report column, poet and reviewer Rigoberto Gonzalez wrote “Poems of intense sensibility and gorgeous imagery are a rarity these days; but this book of verse by a distinctly working class, distinctly lesbian, and distinctly Italian American voice is a must for all readers of good poetry.”
Chuck Forester in his Winter 2007 Lambda Book Report said: “My joy in reading these poems was Repetto’s rebel energy. She revels in her lust without avoiding her history. This is also a woman of courage as she negotiates the complexities of a multicultural existence. She tunes in to people who ride in her cab; she loves the city and the love of women. For her sex is freedom to indulge her desire; it is not possessive but an exchange of pleasure. Growing up in an age when all things sexual were disguised in metaphor, or never mentioned. I found her candor refreshing and stripped of anxiety.”
And the poet Edward Field said: “Her poetry has what T.S. Eliot and Wallace Stevens and the rest of them lack, clinging as they all do to their elitist view of poetry. I’d say she’s exactly what poetry needs — she returns it to the people, even if the people, as Gerry Locklin says, don’t read poetry. But maybe if more poets start writing like her, they will, or at least listen to it.”
Her poems have been chosen as “Editor’s Choice” in the Paterson Literary Review for five times since 2003.
She was a judge in the 2005 Publishing Triangle’s Audre Lorde Award for Lesbian Poetry & Thomas Gunn Award for Gay Poetry
Vittoria repetto was the vice president and the newsletter editor of the Italian American Writers Association from 1992 to 2012 and she has been hosting the Women’s/Trans’ Poetry Jam at Bluestockings Bookstore since its opening in 1999.