Where he was going,
she had never been;
from whence he had come,
she had never known.
Barefoot in blue jeans,
pertly pretty and fifteen,
the mirror, her mistress,
tells her in words sounding like hers
that she is the queen—
this somnambulist in the sameness of her life.
He appears as if in a golden chariot,
a childlike man on the spectrum with him;
he is ambiguous and all put-together—
everything and nothing,
from neither here nor there,
but from some other place
where music also plays.
The mesmerism of his voice—singsong and sad—
is discordant, yet she cannot close the screen door
that separates them as a bridal veil from the groom.
That day through the screen door,
on a Sunday barbecue afternoon,
the girl who knew no religion,
could not know the Devil when she saw him.
Twas when Pride met Vanity,
when Virginity met Debauchery,
only to lose herself.
She snaps out of her hypnotic state,
as her entire life crystallizes—
the father who spoke not at all,
the mother who spoke too much,
the sister of whom much was spoken of.
“For inasmuch as ye have done it unto
one of the least of these my brethren,
ye have done it unto me,” Jesus said.
For the others, she has stayed;
for them, she will go.
The spell is broken, and it is all so
extremely frightening and incredibly real,
for this Arnold Friend is more real to her
than anything else had ever been.
Based on the short story, “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” by Joyce Carol Oates.
Also, an interesting analysis: http://sittingbee.com/where-are-you-going-where-have-you-been-joyce-carol-oates/