Fiction Friday: Micropoetry from the Book

mormoni

Brad worshiped the Creator,
David, the Creation;
I was somewhere in between,
for I saw being a good steward of Creation
as a form of worship.
I could know Mother Nature
in a way
I wasn’t sure I’d ever know
God the Father.

The tide ebbed,
leaving behind a holographic surface
in the waning sunlight.
My love for this boy swelled
as the waves crashed to shore.
It was our last good-bye,
for with his message in the bottle,
he had gotten the last word.

The thrashing of the crashing foam—
like Mr. Sandman’s lullaby—
lulled my eyes closed,
for a part of me imagined
that being coated like a sugar cookie
amongst all this magical grit
was where the Sandman got his magic.
I let myself drift off into slumber
like a piece of driftwood,
feeling safe being near to the one
who was near to God.
I fell asleep for hours,
Brad,
for eternity.

The bottle washed ashore,
almost rejecting Brad’s message.
A small sheet of paper
that had been rolled up
fell into my hand
while I stood knee-deep on the sandbar.
Ever after, I would think of this note
as a dead sea scroll,
a sacred text,
& a series of words that would
apply to my life
for the rest of my life.

I prayed in my heart,
even as I called his name,
but just as the sting of death
was swallowed up in Christ,
my screams were drowned out
by the pounding surf
that licked my ankles
on this deserted beach,
& I felt as if I was swallowed up
in the panic that begat my grief.

Logline for Because of Mindy Wiley An Irish-Catholic girl coming of age in the Deep South during the New Millennium finds her family splintered when two Mormon missionaries come to her door, their presence and promise unearthing long-buried family secrets, which lead to her excommunication and exile.

Fiction Friday: Novelines from the Book

mormoni

According to Mother, “The terrestrial kingdom will be everything he always believed Heaven would be.”

I looked up to my mother then, finally understanding the depth of her suffering.  She had bled from every pore, for I knew she’d believed that to let Patrick die after a suicide attempt would send his soul straight down to Hell—an unpardonable sin in the Catholic Church—and she would feel responsible, but how could any mortal be responsible for the destination of an individual’s soul, for wouldn’t that put them on par with God?

Mother would be married to David for time and all eternity; I would be sealed to them, but I found myself wishing there was a degree of lightness, a degree of separation, that would separate Mother from David.   For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I looked back only to see Caitlin weeping by Patrick’s bedside, Mother standing there, stoic.  I knew it was just his shell in there now, and yet, it still haunted me that Mother had chosen to end his life out of convenience—just so she could marry David in the temple.  Her belief in the Catholic Church had kept him alive as surely as her belief in the Mormon Church had ended his life. The temple was tainted to me now, for my father’s blood flowed from its doors.

The end of my father’s life was the beginning of my mother’s.  I had loved her & loathed him, but now I was beginning to love him & loathe her.  Could I love someone who was dead, or did I love only his memory?  Or was it even less than that, considering I had little to no memory of him?  The man in the bed had been a stranger.  I had smelt him & remembered nothing.  I pined not for him so much but for the potential that had once been him.  He had loved me, and that was enough for me to love him back.

#Fiction Friday: #Micropoetry from the Book

mormoni

Mother & David had once been young lovers.
They had walked at twilight on the beach,
went to plays & the symphony,
& then it became a convenience,
but that must have been when they didn’t know
if Patrick would live or die.
They had floated in a Purgatory of sorts—
his life, her life, their lives,
incongruously equal.

The glory of God was intelligence,
& such shone in David,
I’d thought him my own personal god—
a father without a daughter,
a son, raised by humble ones,
& a heavenly spirit who edified all
he came in contact with.

Mother would surely go to the celestial kingdom,
where she would be exalted & placed
on the path to eternal progression.
David would remain in the terrestrial kingdom—
in the presence of the Man
whose torn flesh & spilt blood
had saved us.
God had been the fundraiser,
but Jesus had ponied up the ransom.

Caitlin wept,
yet she had never known him.
Mother, who had known him intimately,
was stoic & had,
in her own way,
given birth to his grief.

I was like a ghost whisperer,
asking my father to accept the gospel in the next life
so that Mother would have to be sealed to him,
thus unsealing her from David.

#Fiction Friday: #Micropoetry from the Book

mormoni

I grieved for all those years
of going to his grave–
when all along Mother had known
of the machines keeping his body alive–
machines that had more life in their batteries
than he had left in his years.

David was my idol,
Mother believed,
in the way Tab Hunter & Troy Donahue
had been for teen girls in the sixties,
but he was more my Mary,
my sacred masculine,
my intercessor to the better life.

Mother was like a blanched almond,
the Catholic holy water & Mormon fairy dust
boiling away, rubbing away the hull,
exposing & releasing something akin to cyanide.

David would do Patrick’s temple work.
It was atonement–
not through his blood
but through the water & the spirit.

With one article from The Ensign,
my mother was able to set her body free
by setting my father’s spirit free.

#Fiction Friday: #Novelines from the Book

mormoni

My father’s life had been artificially prolonged, trapping my mother in marriage, so that what God had joined together, science had solidified.

Mother hadn’t divorced my father nor annulled the marriage, for she hadn’t wanted to make her children bastards.

My father’s death would legitimize everything, including my mother’s relationship with David. My father had been hovering in the wings, while David had been waiting in them.

Mother sought my absolution in one night, for a lifetime of lies. David had already granted her this thing, even as she continued to perpetuate the lie.

Mother had wanted him to live so he wouldn’t die spiritually–for the sake of her own conscience.

She had bled from every pore, for I knew she had believed that to let Patrick die after a suicide attempt would be to send his soul straight to Hell–an unpardonable sin in the Catholic Church.

How could any mortal be responsible for the destination of an individual’s soul, for wouldn’t that put them on par with God?

Mother had become as God, or Goddess, in a way, for even as she had resurrected Patrick from the dead, at least in my eyes, she was now taking away his last breath of life.

The plan was for David to do Patrick’s work in the temple, turning his enemy into his savior.

Mother believed Patrick would go to middle heaven, the terrestrial, where he would be one of the angels, never to have sex again.

#Fiction Friday: #Micropoetry from the Book

mormoni

The terrestrial kingdom was Protestant heaven,
the celestial, Mormon heaven,
but even the telestial surpassed all understanding.

While my father had hovered in earthly purgatory,
I had been living in a heaven on earth,
my mother, in the hell she had created for herself.

My childhood had been one of opaqueness,
my adulthood, of startling transparency.

If God had wanted Patrick to live,
he would live without a machine,
but by that rationale,
if God had wanted him to die,
no machine on earth should have kept him in limbo.

When I’d believed my father dead,
I’d never wept,
but when I saw him alive & dying,
it was then that I finally grieved,
for his death finally became real to me.

#Fiction Friday: #Micropoetry from the Book

mormoni

He’d never read to me Mother Goose
or Dr. Seuss,
but the Dead Poets,
& the works of a particular student of his–
Marianne something–
who fancied herself a poetess.
We’d never seen puppets teaching shapes & colors
but musicals as bright as candy corn.

For our family tree was such that
if there were older generations left,
I could not see them through the leaves at the top—
where cobwebs had netted them together
through the shadows my mother had placed there.

The graven image of Moroni topped
Mormon temples like a wedding cake,
the interior of which were supposed to be like the
Celestial Kingdom of Heaven on Earth,
but my dream heaven was high on a mountaintop
where snowflakes fell in Spirograph-like creations,
or riding an elephant on a beach,
the sun at our backs,
or deep in the bayou under the Spanish moss
where the crawdads sang—
anywhere in nature,
where the words of the poets
were painted on the sky.

They all spoke on the Law of Chastity,
& you would think there was only one law to break
but to them,
breaking this law led to every other sin—
abortion, poverty, & eternal damnation.

The idea that God had once been
as we once were,
that He had been dust imbued
with the breath of life–
an inhabitant of another earth–
frightened me.
I wanted Him to have always been–
without beginning,
without end.