#Fiction Friday: #Micropoetry from the Book

Mormoni

The prime of Miss Annie McCarrick had passed,
but the prime of Miss Laurie Nolan was coming fast.
Unmarried, Mother had always been at her prime.

Mother & David’s pasts were a mystery,
their presents, uncertain,
their futures, set like a precious stone
in a tiny, golden halo.

Their churches were called wards,
their youth groups, institutes.
They served funeral potatoes at
lively potlucks.
Peculiar people, these Mormons were.

I was asked to pray in public,
when I had never prayed in private.
I was asked to do unnatural things
for the sake of the supernatural.

I prayed from memory,
& not from my heart,
for my heart had no memory
of prayer.

 

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Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #421: Password

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It Came Without Ribbons

That gift, which was eternal life,
could not be unwrapped
until she redeemed the redemption code–
stored in the DNA that formed
the strands of His blood.
All she had to do
was answer one question correctly:
Who do you say that I am?

http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/wednesday-poetry-prompts-421

2017: My Year in Review

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(Inside cover of inweekly–one of Pensacola’s local magazines)

It was the best of years, it was the worst of years.  It was a time of trial, and a time of triumph over that trial.  It was a time of change, and a time of recording that change.  It was a time of deconstruction, a time of reconstruction.  It was a time of friendships lost, a time of friendships found.

It was bad luck and no luck at all.  It was false hope mixed with hopelessness.  It was a culmination of every right and wrong decision my husband and I had ever made.

*

Twenty-seventeen will always be the year my family and I lost our house (security), our car (independence), and a Precious Moments snow globe I’d had since before I married, which I’d kept close in an attempt to keep my daughter’s bedtime routine familiar.  I’d lugged it around for the same reason I lugged her ladybug light around–so that wherever she slept, if it was dark enough and she closed her eyes, it would be like she was back in her old room.

It would be like nothing had changed.

*

I must have foreseen our situation more than three years ago. Not the displacement, necessarily, but the constant financial struggle which bled into everything else, and almost destroyed my marriage.

This, this was why I had gone back to school at the age of thirty-two.

*

Through this experience, I found out who my fair-weather friends were, as well as my stormy-weather ones.

I also realized that my husband’s church family had become like-minded acquaintances, but I guess it’s like that with any family–you have to go to the reunions (i.e. services) every once in a while.

I’m very blessed that my family—all of whom had gone through a degree of what we had—were there for us.  Someday, I hope to be able to repay them tenfold, just as I want to repay the other people (including the pastor who married us and is now retired) and the entities and organizations who helped us, be it through time, taxes, or donations.

Though we’re estranged from what’s left of my husband’s family, my husband and I have made it past the worst. “For better or worse” was in my vows, and I believe the better is coming.

I couldn’t go on if I didn’t.

As it states in the Mormons’ Thirteenth Article of Faith (and I am only quoting part of it), “we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things.”

During this time, I felt that everyone else had it all together, but it was towards the end of the semester that I realized I wasn’t the only one going through, for lack of better words, “really bad shit.”

Knowing this made me feel less alone.

*

Through the infighting and the angst of not knowing where we might be sleeping a week hence, through squatting in the Publix Wi-Fi area where we didn’t feel we had to buy anything and to avoid being stuck in that depressing shelter, through sneaking in to the hotel where my brother worked to eat dinner, I still managed to conquer the one class (or rather, the class that was a pre-cursor) to the class that I’d let keep me from finishing college the first time:  Intermediate Algebra.

I not only passed it, but aced it–all while my world fell apart during final exam week.

What others might have allowed to destroy them, I could not because my life wasn’t just my life anymore. I had a family, and I needed this degree to pull out of the quagmire that was poverty.

My “unhoused” (that sounds so much better than “homeless”) experience didn’t change who I was, but it changed my perspective.

When I see the homeless on the corner, I think, if only they had a family, or a family that cared. True, I don’t know their situation, but I do know we weren’t far from it.

I’m still a strong believer in self-sufficiency (for I am working hard, or rather, studying hard, towards that), but I also realize that to be against the very things that have helped me pull myself up would make me a hypocrite.

There is no shame (nor pride) in accepting help; it’s what you do with that help.

It’s why I chose to major in healthcare rather than English—I wanted to be a good steward of the gift I received. There’ve been times I was sure I’d chosen the wrong major, but I like to say it will be my healthcare degree that will pay for my creative writing degree (something I’ll be working on while I work in the medical field).

I’ve learned, albeit the hard way, that doing things in the right order is essential for success.  That’s why I didn’t choose to major in English first.

When I look at what little money my husband and I brought in, I realize that my family got our Christmas miracle early.

Because a Man fed 5000 people 2000 years ago, my family and I were taken care of, so that we could live to fight (or simply live) another day.

#Fiction Friday: #Novelines from the Book

Mormoni

The piano, for my mother, had been a prison of many keys, the wordless sounds emanating a chilling dirge.

Mother had been forced to play the piano.  Having never been given an opportunity to choose it, she was forced away from it.

Mother & David’s mysterious past, once so enigmatic, now seemed to disappear altogether when I looked at their unquestionable future.

David had grown up an only child, as had Mother, & their parents had died years ago. We were a tree with roots, but no branches.

Mother had never tried to get David to convert to Catholicism, for her arrangement with him had been accepted; with Mormonism, it was not.

I hadn’t been aware that David had known my mother before her marriage to my father; for 1 day, those 3 lives had intertwined.

My father’s family had never come to see us, & I wondered for the first time if Mother & David were running from something.

There was no poor child who suffered for the sins of the Mormon community as in Omelas, except the little child in each of them.

I was like an immigrant, coming to the New World, for Mormonism was uniquely American. It was the Ronald Reagan of religions.

For years, I’d thought my mother had redefined herself, but rather, she had deconstructed herself, leaving some parts of her behind.

Mormon converts had chosen the Church, but those born in the covenant had the choice made for them, for what child of 8 would refuse baptism?

Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #420: Elevated

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Exaltation

For I was sculpted from the dust of the earth,
given form,
solidified,
by the Living Water,
sustained,
salvaged,
with the Bread of Life.

My blood can save another person
temporally,
though it cannot save the world
spiritually.
It has not the magical properties
of the Divine.
It never washes away
that which is scarlet to bleach white,
but rather,
it possesses the power to illuminate
any crime scene.

And yet,
I am elevated by the Divine’s
claim on me—
this Deity who chose me
over His Only Begotten—
the Son who sacrificed Himself
so that I all I had to do was ask Him
to forgive me
for forcing Him to make
an impossible choice.

http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/wednesday-poetry-prompts-420

Christmas thoughts: What I learned from “Miracle on 34th Street”

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When I was a little girl, Miracle on 34th Street was one of my favorite Christmas movies.

My parents could never get me to believe in Santa Claus.  (I was very much like little Susan Walker that way.)

My mom told me (more than once), when I lamented about not having blond hair and blue eyes like all the other little girls wanted, that Natalie Wood (who played Susan in the movie) grew up to be one of the most beautiful women in the world, with her dark hair and brown eyes, like mine.

*

Not long before I became a mom, I was touched by the scene in which Kris Kringle asks Susan if her mother ever sang to her.  Susan says no–in that matter-of-fact way of hers–and I saw, in Kris’s merry eyes, how unfortunate that was.

Twas then I realized that I would always sing to my children.

*

When Susan blows off a game in which the other children in her apartment complex are pretending to be animals in a zoo, calling it silly, with Kris telling her it sounds like fun, I realized that fun is an essential part of childhood.

I was never much for pretending when I was a kid (I just drew my stories until I was old enough to write them), but I chose to nurture that in my child.

I chose, and am choosing still, to give my daughter that magical childhood, for there is time enough to be an adult with all the baggage that comes with it.

Maybe through writing my stories, I am pretending still.

*

Even though I never believed in Santa Claus (too many jerky kids got on the nice list), I fell in love with the idea of him, for I believe that we can all play Santa Claus–not to all the children of the world necessarily, but to our own, if no one else.