#Fiction Friday: #Micropoetry from the Book

Mormoni

The hospital was painted in nature’s green & man-made white,
the nurses filing through the corridors
like whispering ghosts in cartoonish scrubs—
a sort of earthly purgatory.

They’d come into the world,
15 miles apart,
but departed together—
one after the other.
Did true love take away the other’s will
to live without them?

Mother & I prayed together,
Caitlin & I laughed together,
but David & I mourned together.
It was the saddest of the 3
that seemed to bring people together,
even if it didn’t keep them together.

Our Christmas tree was like something out of a magazine,
the Suttons’, like something out of an awkward family photo,
& yet, there was something about it that warmed me,
even as ours left me cold.

For it was because of me he stayed,
& because of her, he would go.
To wish for him as mine
seemed a form of matricide.

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#Fiction Friday: #Novelines from the Book

Mormoni

Mother was a diamond—hopelessly & beautifully flawed.

Through Foster’s Diner, I’d had the extended family I’d longed for, but I hadn’t known until it was too late to know them as such.

There had been numerous incarnations of Beth & Gerald Foster, but their final incarnation had been of themselves—the adopted grandparents I had loved for themselves.

That was why they had seemed so familiar, for I had, in a way, grown up with them, even as they had watched me grow up.

I never asked why they had never voiced a desire to see Caitlin. Maybe it was just that I was so much like their beloved, adopted son.

I wish I would have been able to encapsulate those precious moments I had spent at the roadside diner, never knowing how precious they really were.

I’d never seen Mother struggle with anything before, but she struggled to fit the mold of the Mormon wife, pouring herself into it, but never quite jelling, for the molds were all the same.

Our living room resembled a room in one of the Mormon temples—white & delightsome—a microcosm of the celestial kingdom.

With the light reflecting off her glossy hair & radiant complexion, she looked like an angel. Yet, it was no marvel, for even Satan himself had been transformed into an angel of light.

I was 18 & the thought of moving into Maxwell Manor with Mother & David made me feel about 12 years old.

#Fiction Friday: #Novelines from the Book

Mormoni

A playground was spooky at night. The ponies on springs looked baleful & clown-like, the spiral slide menacing as it loomed like a large serpent.

When I woke to 5 faces peering over me, I wondered if they were there to plead my case before the judge whose authority I did not recognize.

The revelations in the yard hadn’t just told me I had lost my mother, but that the mother I’d loved & admired hadn’t existed at all.

What was unconditional love, but the ability to love someone for all their flaws & sins, committed against everyone but themselves?

My disappointment overshadowed the love I had for them, & it ate at me—not the disappointment itself, but allowing that disappointment to be so great.

Mother spoke differently, saying things like “Bless you,” rather than “Thank you,” but Mormons never went around saying, “Jesus loves you.”

Out of love for me, my family had been brought together, & out of love for my mother, the Church had come for me.

When I heard David thank God, I saw it not only as an act of gratitude, but an act of humility. My mother had brought God into the house, made Him comfortable there.

The happiest days of my life were those that led up to the Christmas of nineteen-hundred-&-ninety-nine.

#Fiction Friday: #Micropoetry from the Book

Mormoni

I asked my dead father,
who lived I knew not where,
to forgive me,
even as I’d never asked for David’s,
for not once had I ever sinned against him.

My pain was swallowed up in the light of his presence,
the sting of the death of Mother’s memory, gone—
all because of the light of his love.

I’d seen what I’d been allowed to see,
heard what I’d been allowed to hear.
The artist in David had painted a pretty picture,
the pianist, in Mother,
this score that had underscored the strange play
that was my life—
a life that had been a Hallmark greeting card,
personalized in cursive,
tea-stained at the edges,
protected in a pretty envelope.

The Protestants had “True Love Waits” rings,
the Mormons, CTR, for “Choose the Right.”
They were purity rings, & nothing more.

Purity rings & purity balls,
with chastity placed on a girl’s
uncovered shoulders.
Orgasms were something mysterious—
something experienced,
often by the inexperienced.

#Fiction Friday: #Novelines from the Book

Mormoni

I became somewhat of a Pollyanna during the heyday of my Mormon experience. I didn’t look around, but straight ahead—to the end I had to endure to.

The notion of a Church family was like a second cousin, thrice removed. It was unfamiliar & wonderful. It wasn’t obtained through blood or marriage, but through adoption.

Their highest level of heaven was about being reunited with their families, & I thought how many holes there would be in that happy place.

Here I was, not ready to grow up all the way quite yet, & Caitlin, in her own way, was growing up too fast.

Tony may have been a sex maniac, marrying Kath to relieve his urge to have sinless sex, but he was a better man than Elder Roberts, for he was marrying the one he loved.

The Coveys had more kids than the Von Trapps, & I thought how larger numbers seemed to breed informality.

My friend Brad saw in me then, what I did not see in myself—the love I had for my stepfather that went beyond fatherly.

The Fosters—the owners of the diner David & I had secretly dined in—had been the aunt & uncle who’d raised him, the foster parents who’d never approved of Mother.

Beth & Gerald had loved me as if I were David’s very own. If only I’d known, I would’ve loved them more while they were alive than after they died.

It was incongruous that David grew up on a farm in rural Pennsylvania, only to become the epitome of urbanity in a township in Green Haven, Florida.

#Fiction Friday: #Novelines from the Book

Mormoni

They said that the devil was the author of confusion. That made Mother his scribe, David, her copy editor, for he knew not from whence that confusion came.

Mother’s hatred for my father was greater than her love for David, but was it not her love for David that had made her hate my father so?

Her body went rigid, & her voice became brittle to the point of breaking. She was like a piece of merchandise that had been on the shelf for too long.

The sharpness of Mother’s words cut me, lacerating the beautiful picture of her I carried in the pocket of my heart—a picture that had seen me through many unfought wars.

Because my mother had made her decision to leave my father too late, my baby sister had been spared, being too far developed to snuff out.

That night, I found out the reason why my father couldn’t be buried in hallowed ground. That night, I knew why Mother clung to his spirit, as she never had his flesh.

It seemed contradictory to say that Mother & David had carnal knowledge of one another, which meant they had known one another in the Biblical sense.

#Fiction Friday: #Micropoetry from the Book

Mormoni

Mother wanted her stripling warriors,
like in the Book of Mormon—
sons, I feared, who would be David’s Only Begotten,
&, therefore, favored above me.

Catholicism & Mormonism were 2
of a Christian kind.
The first had their cathedrals,
the latter, their temples;
both had their godly quiverfuls.

The Church was constructed on feelings of faith,
that those good feelings were the Spirit,
testifying—to the deceitful heart—the truthfulness of all things.

Mine eyes saw the glory of the Mormon Lord,
manifested in their wonderful works.
Mine ears heard their heavenly hymns,
glorifying Joseph Smith—
their personal Prophet.

They spoke of Jesus marrying & having children,
& I thought how ungodly this seemed,
even as The Man had died without dignity.