The contents turned to ash,
time blowing away the dust of the past,
degrading the DNA,
so that justice delayed became justice denied.
Jill Ellen Roth had suffered for the sins of their envy,
for being beautiful,
their sloth, for being an overachiever,
their greed, for being wealthy.
To them, they were not because she was.
Her conception of justice birthed a career in law,
but when there was a miscarriage of it
due to a poor delivery,
she wrote a book
& overturned a verdict.
She obeyed the letter of the law,
he, the spirit of the law;
they each broke the other,
canceling each other out.
He was a famous plagiarist,
stealing the words of his betters,
until he wrote the story of his ill-gotten fame,
& his victims became his lessers.
When Article met Listicle,
he was pumped full of bullets,
then given some numbers,
so he would end in the Top 10.
Sarah Lea Stories
found her doppelganger
in Sara Lee Storey,
who was about 9 floors
She started as a period piece,
with its hard, round end,
but when she became an
she became possessive.
He was a teller of tall stories,
she learned how to climb those 60 stories
& trim them down.
Dot Com was a lonely man,
looking for a dash of this,
a slash of that,
but when he met a semicolon,
he met his match,
for she was a Dot Comma.
No two snowflakes are alike,
& she melted in her mother’s arms—
not the designer label she had hoped for,
but the special label
that made her love her all the more.
Her orderly little house had been turned
her life inside out,
& she fought to keep up with the tot
she prayed would one day outrun her.
Homeschooling would protect her
from the products of ill conception,
but she could not teach her everything,
& so she had to lead her to the ones who could.
I loved the child that was a part of me,
& equally part of the one I loved.
I loved the child I knew yesterday & today,
but would not be forever.
She is just what I would have chosen,
& yet she was created without conscious thought
the product of an autonomic, biological response
to an act of love,
ignited by whiskey.
Sister Grahame was the moderator
Sister Hatcher the observer
the elders, the participants—
all in an effort to socialize us into the Church.
Caitlin was 13 going on 17,
I was 18 going on 14.
I was sexually naive,
even as she was sexually savvy,
& it was, in this way,
I outpaced her.
When I accepted there might be a God,
I had all the answers I needed.
When I began to dabble in religion,
I was more confused than ever.
Though Mother was the solely converted,
we all changed by her changing.
The Mormons took her places
we weren’t sure we wanted to go.
Christ’s blood had been turned to water,
His body into leavened bread
that had been torn to pieces.
Over sweet tea on the verandah,
two Southern belles
& two Southern gents,
decided to be Yankees for a day,
& butter was no longer a staple.
Growing up working class,
with collars as blue as the Bonnie Blue flag
& politics scarlet-red,
with a bloodline as white as Irish potatoes
that ran through their veins,
the O’Mara family was becoming gone with the wind,
their Confederate grey ashes blowing in the breeze.
Wilting on the front porch in blue rocking chairs
with sweet tea in Mason jars,
Miss Iris & Miss Lily spoke of the war no one felt anymore.
Ida Claire, a Southern belle
who identified as a Yankee—
suddenly found that her time was
cut by half & unable to roll her r’s,
for they had disappeared.
They ate grits sweet & savory,
in the sweet & low country,
elevating them with the spice of life,
& the herb that grew in Bubba’s hanging garden–
a potted plant or a planted pot–
they never knew what.
When the philosophers died,
their ideas died with them;
when the writers died,
their stories died with them,
& all that was left was the Here & Now.
She’d always said never again,
the make-up never quite covering the bruises.
When Ruby was placed in her satin box,
the artist of the dead made her look better
than she ever had in life.
She left them incentives in her will—
requests that would lead them to discover
greater things in themselves.
When he thought he had forever to live,
he strolled through life;
when he knew the day of his death,
& did not stop,
till the last dot
XXXon the ellipsis
XXXXXXof his timeline.
When the musicians died,
their music died.
Recording the past
was against the laws of the present,
so that the future could not be
dictated by it.
She saw the American world as a stewardess,
the European world as a Navy officer,
but when she saw Max,
she saw the entire world in a man.
She was minimalist,
in her not-so-little-black dress;
he was a maximumist,
in his double-breasted,
they made 2.
Red, white, & blue had turned his heart purple
his eyesight dim, his limb
but he came home to a child
whose future been fighting for.
She was shampoo,
for she cleaned him up,
He was conditioner,
for he softened her,
tho’ they spent their nights
getting tangled and dirty.
She loved crosswords,
he, word searches,
they found the clues to the mystery
that was their unsolvable life.