Fiction Friday: Micropoetry Based on the Book

mormoni

Loving Brad in my way had been so easy.
I would never have that kind of uncomplicated friendship
with another man again.
I had already decided to move on to a life without him—
just as I had to a life without Elder Roberts.
The only exception was that I had loved Brad
& had lost him,
I believe,
because he had chosen me,
even as Elder Roberts had chosen against me.

The night of the Johnny Lingo luau
was a sea of modest swimsuits,
an expanse of Mardi Gras bead grass skirts,
& an ocean of plastic palm trees—
a wholesome activity
to keep us out of the lake of fire & brimstone.
The tableau was like a movie set
where everyone was ad-libbing.
We weren’t on the beach
but in the cultural hall,
where we would not possibly see
any scantily clad females,
for we were responsible for helping men
control their desires
by covering the flesh
that draped our lovely bones.

A 1969 BYU short film that reminded me
of The Blue Lagoon with Brooke Shields—
minus the cinematography
or Brooke Shields—
at its soul,
was not about a girl who fought against the system
of being bought
but who bought into it,
given away by her father as property
to be loved, honored, & cherished
as someone else’s.
Though I had always seen Mother as a kept woman,
thinking my ugly thoughts about what that meant,
I was a hypocrite,
for I felt that David
belonged to me.

Like many ugly duckling stories,
3-cow Mahana
magically became beautiful—
with just a smile.
She hadn’t had to lose weight
or get plastic surgery;
there were no birthmarks,
burns,
or scars
to blemish the already perfect specimen,
& the knowledge that she was not worth more
but had been paid more for
than any other woman on the island
had turned her into a dark swan.
There was a certain irony that,
unlike the adage about buying the cow,
Johnny Lingo had paid for his
with 10 of them.

The pink lei I had been given at the door
which hung over my chest made me appear
bigger than a B-cup—
a symbol (or two) of fertility,
which was highly prized in the Church,
& I wondered if,
by having 10 children,
& smiling all through it,
I, too,
could be a 10-cow wife.

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: #Micropoetry from the Book

mormoni

Their culture was Norman Rockwell-ish,
their language, without offense,
their borders open to all who would
obey their commandments.

The genders were distinct—
from heads of home to hearts of home.
They were black-&-white about such things,
the world, 50 shades of grey.

The Mormons saw the family
as the foundation for salvation, whereas
I saw families as something invented
for the orderliness of civilization.

The Separation of Men & Women
was like the Separation of Church & State,
of Law & Medicine,
for in separateness,
there was no Equality.

Men were home teachers,
women, visiting teachers,
& every member was a missionary.
In Catholicism, you went to Church
& then you went home.

The Final Authority

“So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God created he him;
male and female created he them.”
Genesis 1:27

I was who I was,
two weeks ago yesterday.
The day of our wedding then,
is already a memory.

I’d found God before I married you,
and then I found myself.
The person you wed is gone,
but you’ve not forgotten.

I am not your child,
your soldier,
or your little pet.

I am a grown woman,
with goals, ideas, and opinions of my own.
I will support you,
as I hope you will support me,
so that we can both become the best we can be.

I didn’t know what I wanted when I married you,
I only knew I wanted you.
You wanted me then—
please, want all of me now.
Love me for my goodness,
not my obedience.

We can be as different as we are equal—
as happy in one another’s successes as we are in our own.

I am not an extension of you,
but rather am One with you.
Be my husband,
my co-pilot,
my friend and soul-mate,
but don’t be my final authority.