When the philosophers died,
their ideas died with them;
when the writers died,
their stories died with them.
When the musicians died,
their music died with them,
& all that was left was the Here & Now.
Because they could not see the past,
they could not imagine the future,
for they knew not
how far they had come.
When the world became infertile,
but people lived forever,
the old citizens of this new era
became so far removed from their youth
that all the magic of childhood
& all belief in a better life eternal
& then vanished.
When new memories ceased to be made
& existing ones began to fade,
the connections between human beings
before they altogether
When nearly all the world had become infertile
from the measures taken to prevent overpopulation,
children became more precious than saffron,
rarer than the Sumatran rhino & Darwin’s fox,
for what did it mean to save the planet
when there would be no one left to inhabit it?
For the postmodern world began to suppose
that mothers & fathers were interchangeable.
Yet it was proven that one person
could never be both father & mother,
the best parent for what has always been a 2-parent family.
For to lose a mom
to lose a dad
or vice versa.
their flesh had become one,
but in the eyes of their children,
Mom & Dad were separate entities
that had merged their sacred powers of procreation
to create flesh of their flesh,
& to imbue that flesh with the spirit
they would send out into the world–
not to seek their fortune,
but to make the world more fortunate
for them having been in it.
For the world
became such a place,
that only the experts
on certain subjects.
One had to be an artist
to talk about art,
an activist to discuss politics,
a chef to critique food.
Such was The State’s way
the flow of
& so any talk of morality
was the first to go.
For they had supposed He was
John the Baptist,
but people did not return,
only to die countless times
as recycled souls;
they passed from this life once—
to live forever.
She did not find her future in the stars,
nor her fortune in the earth,
but her faith in the One
who parted the two.
When he was a boy,
he enjoyed his boyhood,
learning from his dad
what it was to be a man.
When he sowed seeds of legitimacy,
rather than wild oats,
he traded in his Xbox
for a toolbox,
& showed his daughter
how men should treat her
by how he treated her mother.
“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child:
but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”
—St. Paul, First Corinthians
The idea of living in a home for unwed mothers,
of passing one’s child off as their sibling,
or that having a baby out of wedlock
would hurt a woman’s chances of marriage
was so foreign to me,
reminding me not of another place
but another time.
Living the Mormon life was like living in the Fifties,
or how I imagined living in the Fifties was.
Yes, they were a peculiar people,
who wore the cloak of victimhood
like a medal of honor.
They had been persecuted,
just as Jesus had.
Joseph Smith had been jailed,
just as Jesus had.
And they called themselves saints,
even as Jesus had been the saintliest of all.
In the Mormon Church,
one was born without sin,
but in the Catholic Church,
every child was born in sin—
passed down from the mother
like some debilitating disease,
thus, the necessity for infant baptism.
But what of those unborn
who could not be sprinkled with holy water—
who had thrashed around in amniotic fluid?
Did they atone for their original sin
with their life—
or just their chance at it?
I didn’t know it then,
but I would come to know God’s infinite grace
for those who had sinned
& those who had been sinned against,
as I was the latter,
who then became the former.
The Schafer home was a Mormon version of the Cleavers.
Pictures of Jesus & the various temples around the world
hung in leather frames on the wall,
giving them the importance of a museum painting or an ancestral portrait.
The Saints may not have worn Jesus’s corpse around their necks like the Catholics
or covered their cars with Bible quotes like the Deep South Protestants,
but their houses were a shrine to the Mormon Jesus,
to Joseph Smith,
& to everything that told anyone who entered
that they were a latter-day saint
in this new dispensation.
life wasn’t just something to write about—
it was something to live.
Life was a test,
with its true questions
& false answers,
& its limited number of multiple choices.
As part of her self-prescribed Happiness Project,
Dr. Hart learned to love the one she was with
& to love the ones she had.
When it came to picking a mate,
it was drawing the best fit from a small bank
where sometimes all the good answers
were already taken.
Free will did not begin in infancy,
but if one was lucky enough
to live long enough
to be emancipated—
after the world had put its stamp on them—
they could make the best or worst choice
based on what they knew.
How unbreakable & valiant
the spirit of some
had to be
not only what they had been taught
but how they had been treated.
She’d traded in her Netflix membership
for a library card,
her Chocoholics Anonymous loyalty card
for a YMCA membership,
her customer service job
for a career in content creation.
As she got smarter,
she also got wiser & realized
that she could still be entertained
after a hard day’s work
& sprinkled (if not showered) with candy
& be a people person sometimes—
the last depending on how many & what kind.
Marriage is no more disastrous first (& last) dates
Motherhood is paying it forward, so they will have something to give back
Family is everything during a crisis
Friends are the people in our lives we choose to adopt
Faith is loving Him for what He did, not hating Him for what others do
Education is stimulating our intellectual curiosity
Work is only part of a purpose-driven life
Writing is spending quality time with people who don’t exist
Books are other worlds you can visit privately
Food is best when shared
Life is best when appreciated