#Fiction Friday: #Micropoetry from the Book

mormoni

My father’s epitaph had been a lie,
engraved into a stone tablet—
just like the 10 Commandments.
Both had been used to control beliefs.

David’s wealth was prolonging my father’s life,
even as he was enjoying my father’s wife.

Like Mary Magdalene,
I’d been visiting the empty grave of
the man my mother had practically deified—
the man whose blood would redeem me
from psychological incest.

For the sake of her soul,
she would not divorce,
but she would kill.
For the sake of Patrick’s soul.
she had preserved the body by
keeping him hooked to machines—
a mechanical embalming.

Mother Mary had been Mother’s idol,
but now she saw herself as a martyr—
a saint but not of the Catholic kind.

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#Fiction Friday: #Novelines from the Book

mormoni

The hot chocolate that tasted like dirt wasn’t enough to steam away the winter chill that blew through the holes in our tights & openings in our scarves as we went a-caroling among the leaves so green.

We took the presence of a Nativity scene as an indication of a safe house, a friendly home, and we caroled our way through Christendom.

The glow from the tree gave the illusion of a gloriole, and it was to Mother’s light that the missionary angels were drawn.

Machines had kept my father alive, & I wondered if he was in purgatory, between 2 worlds, knowing if that machine malfunctioned, it would be the end of both his lives.

David’s allegiance to my mother hurt more than her deception; he was a beautiful accessory to her crime.

The Church admonished its members to be honest in all their dealings with their fellow man, & so I wondered about Abraham, lying about Sarah.

I had once believed in total autonomy—until I’d read the story of Pharaoh & how God had hardened His heart to bring about His purpose.

Removing Patrick from life support was in Mother’s best convenience, just as choosing not to abort Caitlin had been against hers.  Perhaps she’d seen forsaking her life in the servitude of motherhood as penance for destroying Patrick’s.

 

#Fiction Friday: #Micropoetry from the Book

Mormoni

Mother wanted her stripling warriors,
like in the Book of Mormon—
sons, I feared, who would be David’s Only Begotten,
&, therefore, favored above me.

Catholicism & Mormonism were 2
of a Christian kind.
The first had their cathedrals,
the latter, their temples;
both had their godly quiverfuls.

The Church was constructed on feelings of faith,
that those good feelings were the Spirit,
testifying—to the deceitful heart—the truthfulness of all things.

Mine eyes saw the glory of the Mormon Lord,
manifested in their wonderful works.
Mine ears heard their heavenly hymns,
glorifying Joseph Smith—
their personal Prophet.

They spoke of Jesus marrying & having children,
& I thought how ungodly this seemed,
even as The Man had died without dignity.

Why I Tell My Daughter She’s Beautiful

20180513_130632

When I mentioned to someone I trusted that my daughter was getting genetically tested, I explained, “To find out why she is the way she is.”

It was never to “figure out what’s wrong with her,” because I don’t see anything wrong.  She isn’t broken, in need of fixing, but rather, in need of additional guidance and patience to help her be the best person she can be.  Just like I needed math tutors last semester.

All test results were normal, though I’ve been asked by many people (all health professionals) if she was autistic.  She is definitely somewhere on the spectrum, but on the high-functioning end.

When my mother was alive, all she saw was her specialness, not her special needs.  “That’s just who she is,” she would say, because for her, and for me, and for all who love her, it was that whole unique and wonderfully-made thing.

*

My child has the most incredible memory, whereas mine is pretty crappy.  Sometimes I ask my husband if he remembers if I ate anything for breakfast.  I feel like Kelly Bundy from “Married With Children” in that episode where she loses a fact every time she gains a fact, because there’s only so much space in her airhead; she forgets on a game show a football trivia question about her father–something about these things called touchdowns.

However, a memory like my daughter’s has its challenges.  It took me forever to get her to unlearn “shit,” after my parents thought it was freaking hilarious when she tipped out of her Minnie Mouse chair and said, “Awww, shit!”  When they told me about it, I couldn’t help but laugh, even though I admonished her later that young ladies don’t use that word.

That’s said, salty language and an overabundance of sweet snacks are truly the stuff of grandparents.

*

My daughter also has an incredible ear for sounds–she actually corrected the teacher on the difference between a helicopter and an airplane.  As much as I would love for her thing to be words, I believe it will be music.

*

When a “neurologist” (I’m not even sure what she was, she didn’t even bother introducing herself or familiarizing herself with my child’s medical record before her appointment) said that our daughter’s face had a trace of dysmorphia, my husband got pissed while I got so upset, I started crying.

On the way home, I kept looking back for some trace of what this woman saw, but all I saw was this stunningly beautiful little girl with perfectly symmetrical features and enviable blue eyes.  I like to joke with my dad that all other kids looked like dogs after I had mine (not really, but parents are biased).

*

I know it’s a Thing for girls to want to be superheroes over princesses, to major in STEM, and for their parents to praise their strength rather than their beauty, and I get some of that, but there will be plenty of people in my daughter’s life who will say something unkind.  It is my job–my calling–as her mother, to build her up without tearing others down.

My mom grew up thinking she was ugly because her mom never told her she was pretty (and she was!), and so my mom always told me I was–even when I was going through this hideous awkward stage where I looked like the female (and brunette) version of that bully in A Christmas Story.  (At least I did in one of my school pictures.)  Of course, I believed Mom only said that because she was my mother, but I know she meant it, too.

That said, my mom always told me that her grandmother told her that “Pretty is as pretty does.”  I let my daughter know when she is being ugly, just as I tell her that she is strong and smart and all those other things.

*

I’m not blind to my daughter’s quirks, but it rubbed me the wrong way when the people at the center seemed like they were trying to push us into “family planning” (like to have another one like the one I have would be so horrible).  I don’t even like the way “family planning” sounds,  and I don’t practice it.  I don’t feel that way because a man in the Vatican or a bunch of men in Salt Lake don’t believe in it (Jesus died for me, they didn’t), but it’s my personal, spiritual belief.  (I will, however, concede that I would probably feel differently if I had more than half a dozen.)

Sometimes you just want to say someone, “Let they who are without imperfection be the first to cast the first birth control pill,” because we’re not talking Tay-Sachs or Huntington’s chorea here.  My daughter isn’t suffering–she is one of the happiest kids I know.  She’s never even thrown a tantrum.  She’s gotten upset and frustrated, but she’s never been one of those little horrors you see on that British nanny show.

*

My daughter has shown me that we are more than our genes, our chromosomes, our cells, for they only tell part of the story of who we are, and what amazing things we can become.

Poem-a-Day April 2018 Writer’s Digest Challenge #22. Theme: Plant

kudzu-flower-831489_1280

Kudzu

Once upon a time in an obscure, European principality,
there reigned sterling, silver-haired King Kudzu,
who, due to his massive growth,
crowded out all the kingdom’s flora.

He had 12 beautiful daughters:
Pansy & Tansy,
who were a bit prissy,
Rose,
whose smell no one could match,
Poppy & Posey,
who were interchangeable,
Violet,
who was one letter short of violent,
Ivy & Iris,
who liked to climb walls & change colours,
Daisy,
whose petals often got plucked by lovestruck youngsters,
Lily & Lotus,
who didn’t do much,
& Belladonna,
who felt above it all,
being four syllables tall.

They all had hair of copper or gold,
their skin bronzed by the sun from the courtyard
that was their only contact with the natural world.

As King Kudzu grew,
he raised his motherless daughters in the castle,
grooming them—
in their solitary confinement & disciplinary refinement—
to become nuns in the local convent.

But then Father Jackson Fitzpatrick Kennedy—
a handsome devil of a weed—
came & came often,
fertilizing the King’s diverse garden.
His potent seed,
stored up for so long,
caused each bloom to produce after her own kind;
for King Kudzu had assumed that the birds & bees speech
would’ve been common knowledge among his daughters,
they being plants.

The King,
enraged at the mass-pollination,
tossed the Father into the cathedral dungeon,
defrocked & denatured,
while his daughters each bore a son,
each son becoming a father
of one of the Twelve Tribes of a New Israel,
where they lived so-so happily ever after—
these sons of single motherhood.

Moral of the story: Children are better off with both parents, in case one of them is crazy.

http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/2018-april-pad-challenge-day-22

#Fiction Friday: #Micropoetry from the Book

Mormoni

From Annie McCarrick to Laurie Nolan,
my mother had redefined herself,
though I had to wonder–
was the redefinition a stripping off
of a mask,
or was it an unveiling?

David had freed Mother from the music
her fingers had made,
& had passed that which she had loathed
to the daughter who danced to it.

The genesis of my life:
My fifth year–
when David came.
The exodus–
the year the elders came.
The revelation–
when I came the first time.

As a Catholic,
God was my Father,
& that was enough.
As a Mormon,
I began to wonder about
my earthly father,
the concept of a
Heavenly Mother
strange & wonderful
to me.

David was Welsh,
without a pinch of Irish in him;
I was an Irish trio—
Northern, Scots, & Black;
but Caitlin?
She was Jaunty O’ St. Mick.

#Fiction Friday: #Micropoetry from the Book

Mormoni

They believed in a premortal existence—
their souls went from everlasting to everlasting,
even as I’d been given amnesia at birth.

He led me into the still, warm water,
so that he could claim my soul,
& lead me onto the path his father had
paved for him–
not dirt with a picket fence,
but asphalt with guardrails.

To Elder Roberts, I was ethereal,
worthy of awe.
To David, I was worthy of his love.
I was earthy and real,
& he loved me in all my forms.

My life would now be full of defining moments,
like dots on a timeline—
a line that had been as straight
as the cessation of a beating heart.

The Catholics put Jesus up on the cross,
the Protestants took Him down,
but the Mormons–
they took the cross that was left,
& carried it.