#Fiction Friday: #Novelines from the Book


I’d had a “coming-out party” at 16, but nothing had come of it. I was 18, uncertain, & still living at home.

David had kept me close, Mother, in some ways, closer. There would come a time when I wondered who had betrayed who first.

Life before the Church had been like a storybook. I had been Princess Katerina, who had the love of the great King David of Maxwell Manor.

David could be found doing dishes in a shirt & tie, albeit with the sleeves rolled up & tie draped over his shoulder. He was, as always, a gentleman.

Mother’s eyes had that intense look of concentration, reading more of that Mormon literature.

“I wonder when we’re the happiest.” “I don’t know,” he said, “but,” & he nodded in Mother’s direction, “I think this is your mother’s time.”

A glass door had separated us from the other side of Heaven, for beyond it had been two dark angels, catalysts for change, beckoning us.

They taught that sexual sin was second only to murder, for our bodies were not our own, as “ye were bought with a price.”

Nonpareils & popcorn, the Hayley Mills’ version of “The Parent Trap,” and two virginal brothers was my 13-year-old sister’s ideal night out.

Mother believed once she & David married and became good church-going folks, we would all be respected as a family.

#Fiction Friday: #Novelines from the Book


Autumn in the Deep South wasn’t a celebration of the changing seasons–a riot of color–but a requiem of the dying summer played in grayscale.

The eve of the New Millennium was the era of “Jesus freaks,” of WWJD bracelets, & “True Love Waits” rings, & the dawn of the prosperity gospel.

Caitlin saw the elders like a box of chocolates—they looked uniform, nestled in their suits, but inside, they were unique & wonderfully made.

Though Caitlin collected her crushes like Barbie dolls, the thought of ever sharing her husband was like sharing her soda with her friends.

I said a little prayer to God this time, praying that my Mormon soldier wouldn’t forget me when he left this place.

Maxwell Manor was David’s estate. We had always been guests there, & I wondered if it would become our home now & inheritance later.

Knowing that suicide wasn’t the unpardonable sin she had grown up believing it to be would soon free Mother, as it would Patrick.

David could do Patrick’s temple work next year, finally releasing his spirit to marry another woman. The power had been his all along.

Mother & David became celibate in the shadow of committing themselves to the Church, as the sun of a spiritual new dawn shined upon them.

#Fiction Friday: #Novelines from the Book


Mother was trying to knit again, & every time I saw the needles out, I prayed that her project was not in preparation for any life inside her.

Mother had never spanked us, for she had spared her hand & spoiled her children.

I’d never thought much about having children before, though I knew Elder Roberts probably wanted them, & so I would want them, too.

“They said the only reason a man hung around a lady & her 2 young daughters,” she said, unable to say more, for it would be like crucifying David.

The Mormons helped me step outside myself, & see us as the world saw us.

Once David become Mother’s fiancé, he began to act like more of a stepdad to Caitlin, yet our relationship retained its friendship status.

David was considered our stepfather in Green Haven, despite not being married to Mother, for if one lived a lie long enough, it became true.

I was glad women were no longer stoned for sins committed with men, for Mother would’ve been battered into oblivion.

They didn’t go around saying “Jesus loves you,” nor did they wear crosses, or shake & shimmy to show manifestation of the Divine.

If only we could know the last time we’d ever see someone, we would push our relationships till the end.

#Fiction Friday: #Micropoetry from the Book


They were everything fried & boiled peanuts,
we were pâté & petit fours.
They were sweet tea & nanner puddin’,
we were champagne & caviar.

Greenhaven was like a steam bath
with sidewalks that went on for miles,
where most of the citizens were natives
except for a few Northern exiles.

A Catholic brother,
a Mormon elder,
& a Holy Spirit walked into a house:
One stayed,
two left,
but the one that stayed
would bring the other two back.

There were 4 men;
I saw them all in relation to me:
a brother,
a friend,
a friend’s brother,
a boyfriend.
This single night was ours alone.

Religion was about losing yourself,
spirituality, finding yourself;
the first was a burial of the old self,
the second, an unearthing of the new.

#Fiction Friday: #Novelines from the Book


Mother was celebrating membership in the Church, whereas David & I were celebrating that we would be a family again. There was that word. Again.

Mother had mineral water, David & I, a little champagne—a Mardi Gras before Lent. But when was a Mormon’s Lent? None such existed, for the life of a Mormon was one of continuous abstinence.

Caitlin wasn’t with us, & I realized I’d forgotten all about my baby sister. She still belonged with us, for hadn’t she always before?

Mother & David were at Maxwell Manor, spending a romantic (but sinless) evening as an engaged couple; I was in his studio, where she’d never been.

Everyone had a purpose in this life, divine or otherwise, yet I thought it strange some believed their only purpose was getting to the next.

“Before the clock ticks thrice, you will have denied me 3 times,” she said, going back to her chat, as if I had been there not at all.

She looked back at us once, giving us a strange sort of smile—that androgynous Mona Lisa smile again—as if she held a delicious secret.

We often married the people we did based on the order in which we met them. Our lives were a deck of cards, the real story not in the cards we were dealt, but the order in which they were dealt.

I never understood how one could be washed in the Blood of the Lamb—how it would cleanse us from our scarlet sins so we were white again when blood was the one thing at a crime scene that could never be washed away.

He told me he would be home in 6 weeks. If only he had come right back for me, the rest of my life would’ve never happened.


#Fiction Friday: #Micropoetry from the Book


David & I were getting baptized with the water,
Mother with the Spirit;
Adonis, his goddess,
& me,
submerging separately,
reemerging jointly.

Though I was calm as a summer day on Hoggshead Beach,
inside, I was saying good-bye to the old me,
for baptism was a drowning, an exorcism.

I had honored my father & mother all my life,
if not my Heavenly parents.
In my chastity by default,
did I honor them.

Elder Roberts would baptize me,
for I’d chosen him;
the day would come
when I would nullify my worthiness to be
the bearer of future tithe-payers.

Mother, rejecting the plain faith of her fathers,
of her childhood, & youngest child,
embraced the fancy religion of her new ward family.


#Fiction Friday: #Micropoetry from the Book


Maxwell Manor was where we had spent our holidays.
Our house on Harrington Court, our everydays.
Soon, every day would be a holiday.

David said my eyes were imperial topaz,
my hair, woven by butterflies from corn silk dried in the sun,
my lips, rose petals, my tongue, the dew.

Once upon a time in Green Haven,
a man called David came,
saving my mother from single motherhood,
my sister & me from fatherless childhood.

Mother’s mourning dresses were black with long sleeves,
her dinner dresses little black sleeveless ones.
She wore her widowhood well.

Patrick had given her pearls,
however uncultured.
David had given her diamonds like herself—
flawless and cutting.