He was a gentleman,
for I had been the one
who tried to kiss him,
though he would never tell.
As I regarded him in the amber light,
trying to detect any change in his demeanor
that indicated something had occurred between us,
there was none,
& I convinced myself it had all been a dream.
Mother wore a nightgown now—
in training for the temple garments
she would have to wear always.
David called it,
with its special powers of protection.
I knew Mother desired another child,
but Caitlin had found
a box of condoms in David’s drawer,
which meant either Mother & David
were having unprotected sex
or no sex at all,
& it was the latter
that made me happier.
Mother asked me to take over her puzzle—
a crossword from a woman I believed
didn’t have a clue.
I asked her to stay then,
when I had never asked her before,
for she wanted to leave me with questions
even she herself
could not answer.
Family Home Evening at our house
consisted of an opening & closing prayer,
with some scripture reading in between,
which was always a lesson or story
Mother would print from some computer software
that would tie into the verses we had recited
in an attempt to rewire our hardware;
Church news seemed to dominate
all conversation at the dinner table.
It had bled into our lives
the way Catholicism never had—
rebranding us as the salt of the earth
that had not lost its savor.
The power was out,
yet the air was electric.
Mother was separated
leaving David & me
I, longing for something,
who had been made greater than God
in my eyes
& who would soon
belong to someone else.
Logline for Because of Mindy Wiley: An Irish-Catholic girl coming of age in the Deep South during the New Millennium finds her family splintered when two Mormon missionaries come to her door, their presence and promise unearthing long-buried family secrets, which lead to her excommunication and exile.