Fiction Friday: Micropoetry from the Book

Faith was the acceptance
of things that could not be proven,
& hope that our faith
would get us those things
from that which could not be proven.

He’d wanted no children,
but he would have them
for salvation’s sake,
for his wife’s happiness,
& because,
in the Church,
conception was akin to birth.

In Catholicism, God was everywhere;
in Mormonism, He was not.
He’d gone from limitless
to contained
as the sole Ruler
of this world,
in an eternity of worlds.

My friend Brad would’ve given up the priesthood for me,
David, his own soul,
but Elder Roberts,
not even his reputation;
I had meant that little to him.

If my heart was hardened,
had God Himself hardened it—
like He had Pharaoh’s—
to bring about His work?
Was not autonomy an illusion?

Fiction Friday: Micropoetry from the Book

My sadness begat anger,
& my anger begat a strength
& a different hope for the future,
ushering in a new era,
with no man I could see.

I was Eve,
except I was the fruit
that was the temptation.
I was Ruth,
who followed another man’s God.
I was an unnamed daughter of Lot.

The love Elder Roberts had for me
was the milk—
a diluter of strength,
whereas Brad’s love was the sugar,
which made so many other things
better.
But David’s,
David’s was the base—
the coffee—
for it was the strongest.

Unrequited love on my side
made me bitter;
unrequited love on his side
made me wistful.
When I found my love
& he found me,
I found contentment.

Even as Catholic priests took vows of poverty,
chastity,
& obedience,
the Mormon vows of marriage,
children,
& clean living applied to all members.

Fiction Friday: Novelines from the Book

Multiple marriages had produced but one child for Sister Wiley–the fruit of which was bitter–for as that child grew, her mother only grew lovelier.

Sexual sin, in the LDS Church, was second only to murder, for it murdered innocence, marriages, & sometimes, the unborn.

Poverty, Obedience, & Chastity were Catholic vows, but Chastity was the greatest of these when becoming a Mormon.

Mother would become Laurie Dalton, & I, if it were possible, would become Katryn Dalton for him.

There would be no more His & Hers, but Ours. However, we would not blend, but remain separate—Caitlin, hers, & David, mine.

David’s painting of Mother’s likeness had been unclear, while the objects surrounding her had been clearly delineated. It was I who was real to him.

That Night I’d seen David leave Caitlin’s room looking troubled would have no significance until The Day Caitlin told me about it.

Mother had never taken a candid snapshot of us, but rather, all we had were professional portraits, her girls posed & poised, like porcelain dolls.

Caitlin & I looked like child brides in the photos, Mother, a little girl herself. To find the mother I could love, I’d have to go way back.

My father’s red hair & beard looked like burnished gold in the sun, his fair image a sharp contrast to David’s virile one.

Because Tony & Kath had partaken of the forbidden fruits the other offered, according to Mother, they were good for no one else now.

Mother & David were shopping together, when it had always been I who had accompanied him. I was getting him, only to lose him in another way.

David’s hands began to stroke Mother’s legs, worshipping them as if they were the horns of the golden calf.

Fiction Friday: Micropoetry from the Book

Leann was Snow White,
the fairest of the least;
Kath was a black beauty
in love with a beast,
& I,
Princess Aurora,
who was only now waking up
from what had once been
a charming, princely dream.

Brad was joining the Catholic priesthood,
which would take him away from me,
even as the Mormon priesthood would prepare
Elder Roberts for me.

Tony wanted me for his wife,
Kath for his lover,
& their baby for our very own.
She would keep his heart,
& I would keep my soul.

My mother lived in sin,
even as I lived with it.
She was but one covenant
away from hell,
& I,
one man’s touch away
from heaven.

Leann was the pretty one,
Kath, the black one,
& I, the pure one.
I would be the changeling
of our feminine triad—
the last light on a match.

Fiction Friday: Novelines from the Book

A restlessness began to stir within me that winter. I began to change as the leaves did, feeling myself unraveling from my tight-knit family.

If the Church was true, God would not answer my prayer. The only comfort I had was in knowing that God’s will was not always done.

Mother had Church now, Caitlin, her piano & dance, David, his art & professorship, but I had always been content with just enjoying life.

Once upon a time, Mother played the piano, but now she played the strings of our that held us up like marionettes.

David had painted Mother, but her pale, oval face was shrouded by her hair, cloaked in dark mystery, for he’d loved her from afar.

Long, luxurious dark hair fell not in waves, but in ripples, just as I imagined the notes that flowed from her fingers.

My mother had gone by Annie McCarrick then—a blue-collar girl from a Catholic family. She was now Laurie Nolan—a Southern Audrey Hepburn.

Mother had many forms—the one I’d known & the one only she knew. I’d loved the one who’d never existed.

He was still staring at the picture, or rather past it, and I knew that’s where his thoughts were—in the past he rarely shared with us.

Playing Pretend is its Own Imaginary Friend

She’d shed her innocent, thirtysomething self
like a snake,
charmed out of its skin,
donning Catholic schoolgirl garments
for the one day of the year
she could be anything
she wanted to be.
She’d never worn pigtails or knee socks,
but page-boys,
saddle Oxfords,
and dresses that could pass as camouflage
in a garden party.
She’d grown up Protestant
with no corpse on the Cross
dangling from her neck
like an open coffin.
She’d often wondered
what life would’ve been like
had she worn his broken body,
worn the uniform
that had been hijacked
by the secularists.

Micropoetry Monday: Family Dynamics

When they did their DNA,
Dad traded in his wooden shoes
for a Viking helmet,
but Mom could not trade in
her Black Irish hair
for the auburn that could have been hers
if she’d been born sooner.

His siblings and cousins had been close
when they were children,
but when the patriarch,
who said family was everything,
passed away,
it proved that he was the everything
that had held the family together.

Dad wore many uniforms,
Mom wore many hats,
but as for me & my brother,
we wore many masks.

When the Irish Catholic met the Roman Catholic,
they had Irish potato gnocchi
& spaghetti with soda bread.
They made it work because,
like many others,
they were all trying to get to the same place—
a gastronomical heaven.

She’d been an idealist before she’d married,
seeing a life of in-laws that were like blood &
double dating with mutual friends,
but when the honeymoon rose again,
his love was all that shone.

Fiction Friday: Novelines from the Book

We sat around playing “Clue,” not knowing that the person who would become the true murderer, was just outside the board.

“It would be nothing to believe in a God we could see, but to not see & believe—that’s what faith is,” Brad said.

Sisters Corbin & Kyle were like nuns, daring not show an ankle or hint of cleavage, which Sister Grahame had done, & Sister Hatcher had none.

The advent of the new sisters, who were more like Catholic postulates, brought with them a peace that hadn’t existed between the other 2.

Tony was like St. Paul, believing it was better to marry than to burn with passion—which would be fine if his passions were limited to one girl.

The Mormons left much to the imagination, but mine for Elder Roberts roamed wild.

The spirituality of the Mormon Church made me feel a stranger, but their sociability gave me a sense of belonging I had never known.

Then my gaze rested on Sister Wiley, who was oblivious to the 2 new souls joined in happy reunion & sweetest communion with God the Father.

When Sister Wiley’s eyes met mine, I was chilled, & I knew, underneath the golden girl, there was a tarnished silver lining.

Fiction Friday: Micropoetry from the Book

They were everything fried & boiled peanuts,
we were pâté & petit fours.
They were sweet tea & nanner puddin’,
we were champagne & caviar.

Greenhaven was like a steam bath
with sidewalks that went on for miles,
where most of the citizens were natives
except for a few Northern exiles.

A Catholic brother,
a Mormon elder,
& a Holy Spirit walked into a house:
One stayed,
two left,
but the one that stayed
would bring the other two back.

There were 4 men;
I saw them all in relation to me:
a brother,
a friend,
a friend’s brother,
a boyfriend.
This single night was ours alone.

Religion was about losing yourself,
spirituality, finding yourself;
the first was a burial of the old self,
the second, an unearthing of the new.

Fiction Friday: Novelines from the Book

Mother drank juice for breakfast, covered her white shoulders, & practiced celibacy—all in preparation for the Mormon life as a Mormon wife.

We were Yankees mired in the South, trying to become like the Mormon pioneers of the West—the Saints of Latter Days.

Mother was like a born-again Christian, not a person who was going through the degrees of conversion. Mormonism had saved her from something I could not name.

As there was no man of the house at ours, we had to sit outside in the Florida summer to feed the elders, as if we were Southern Jezebelles.

Our picnic on the patio was laid out as proper as an Emily Post luncheon. We drank lemonade out of plastic goblets—this afternoon “tea.”

Like a collection of china dolls placed on white wicker furniture, we looked like a replica of the Old South in a dollhouse.

There was a war of words with the Mormons & the “born-agains,” the Catholics choosing neutrality in our town of Green Haven, Florabama.

The Pentecostals covered their calves, the Mormons, the shoulders, but the Catholics hadn’t any dress code, yet their sect was as old as time.

The elder missionaries spoke of the opposition they faced from the Baptists & the Pentecostals here, & yet, I saw them all as Christians.

“We’re finally going to be a family again,” David said, & I wondered when had we ever been, but unbeknownst to me, we were the bricks, Mormonism, the mortar.