Fiction Friday: Micropoetry from the Book

When Mother married David,
it was for them.
When she would die as
the result of a lethal conception,
it was for them.
Everything she would ever do
for would be for them &
because of them.

I was in love with a boy I didn’t understand,
but the boy who understood me,
I loved as a friend &
could only love as more
in the absence of all the others.

When I was a child,
I was childlike.
When I became a woman,
I would set my child aside,
for I was still a child myself.

Snapshots were captured moments,
portraits, created moments.
The former was for families like theirs,
the latter, for a family like mine.

I had never taken a walk with Jesus,
like the Protestants.
I had never spoken to His mother,
like the Catholics.
Rather, I sought the head of the
Heavenly household:
His Father.

Fiction Friday: Micropoetry from the Book

Conversion was an event for the Protestants,
a process for the Mormons,
but as for me,
it was an event that led to a process.

All the Nolan women had slender fingers—
fingers to play the piano & the strings of men’s hearts—
siren songs to keep them close.

Caitlin’s heart & soul lived in her childhood faith,
& would become her comfort,
even as the one I had never clung to
would become an anathema to me.

He said curves like mine were unfinished sculpture.
I was his clay, even as Mother was God’s stone
to chisel away until there was nothing left.

Diamonds went with white,
pearls, with black;
I saw Mother as the diamond—
I, the pearl,
& David as the man who adorned us
perfectly.

Fiction Friday: Novelines from the Book

White, Protestant, & Republican were the dominant demographics of Green Haven, & those that fit into all 3 categories tended to be the most successful.

Such talk of homes for unwed mothers made me feel as if I had been blasted back to the Fifties, but the Mormons were a relic of bygone days.

Strange how grandmothers would pretend their daughters’ illegitimates were theirs, yet I felt maternal towards my sister, rather than sisterly.

The Schafer home was a Mormon version of the Cleavers, complete with pictures of Ronald Reagan & the WASPy-looking Mormon Jesus.

I imagined Sister Schafer’s mind was like looking at a crazy quilt through a kaleidoscope.

I knew not how to help my pregnant friend, for I’d never even kissed a boy.

What we both knew was that God already knew this little stranger, for the child’s bones had been knitted in the womb by the needles that were God’s fingers.

The idea of hidden pregnancies & secret adoptions was like removing a shiny dust jacket, only to see a stained & battered book.

If a man chose not to go on a mission, he was partly responsible for the souls he could have saved. Salvation was a shared responsibility.

I always wondered, if you were married, how did you keep from outgrowing one another, but then I realized, you grew together. You were grafted into the family tree.

I was one of many girls, all vying for the affections of an elder from the Mormon Corridor. I wanted to be taken away, & then taken.

I shelved the thought of Elder Roberts, like a book I had read as a child & had gone back to, finding I had outgrown it.

I imagined the Holy Spirit spoke through me, but how could that be, when I wasn’t worthy? When I’d yet to be baptized, not born in the covenant?

In my new life as a Mormon, I began to do other things girls my age did. I got a job, working for boiled peanuts; I learned to drive.

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.

Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #397: Land of (Blank)

If a New York minute is thirty seconds, then a Southern minute is ninety.
–from “Poplar Bluff: A Memoir”

Church sine.png

The Land of Dixie

Selling their messages on street corners are
Bible-bashers, cardboard-carrying hobos,
and dancing people wearing sandwich signs,
while cars plastered with Bible quotes
or slapped with a COEXIST bumper sticker,
coexist on the streets,
passing the temples of capitalism,
the cross-bearing churches that
capitalize on the guilty man’s soul,
seeking deep, silver-lined pockets.

The rapture’s coming soon for some
in this land of Deep South Protestantism,
where hearts are blest,
where everyone’s either saved or going to hell,
or just plain don’t know what the hell’s going on.

Pensacola Beach is the jewel,
set in fool’s gold turning green,
with its sand like ground pearls,
water vacillating between
emeralds and sapphires,
and homes the color of Jordan almonds.
The flip-flap-flopping of their footwear is their answer
to Australia’s slip-slap-slopping,
beating a rapid tattoo on the boardwalk.

Such paradise is everyone’s playground,
home to the earthly blest,
where few transplants are rejected,
their organs pumping the lifeblood
into the economy,
for which the tourists are both
donors and recipients.

I look around at my side of town,
at the heat waves shimmering off the asphalt,
the mud-filled potholes,
the never-ending road work;
I still see conflict and war,
deconstruction alongside reconstruction—
a rebirth of conservative nationalism.

I am home.

Note: Slip-slap-slop is a real thing: http://www.sunsmart.com.au/tools/videos/past-tv-campaigns/slip-slop-slap-original-sunsmart-campaign.html

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 397

For more on Pensacola:

https://sarahleastories.com/2014/02/19/daily-prompt-west-end-girls-2/
https://sarahleastories.com/2015/04/10/poem-a-day-writers-digest-challenge-9-theme-work/
https://sarahleastories.com/2016/11/23/poem-a-day-writers-digest-challenge-23-theme-when-blank/