#Fiction Friday: #Novelines from the Book

mormoni

The foundation of our existence shook, the pillars & posts of transparency tumbled around me.  I picked up a brick, wanting to hurl it like a weapon, only to find that it had turned to sand.  

I knew it was required that she seek my forgiveness before God’s.  I also knew God would forgive whosoever He chose to forgive, but that I was required to forgive all. 

David’s money had kept my father alive, tethering my mother to the man who stood in their way, or rather, hovered between them.

My mother had lived a life of convenience, of self-flagellation by denying herself the sanctity of marriage but not of the marriage bed.  Just as she had wanted to do away with Caitlin, she was now going to do away with my father.

She had never annulled the marriage, for she could not make her children bastards as legitimate children were considered status symbols–just as Mother had chosen the label of widow over adulteress.

She’d convinced herself that because he was brain-dead, his soul had gone on, just as she’d taught her girls that unChristian women, to soothe their consciences, had convinced themselves that unborn babies were nothing but a clump of cells when wasn’t that what we all were–just many more of them.

I grieved for the father who had never been lost to me at all—the father I was just now finding, only to lose him all over again.

#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

“Do no harm” & “to thine own self be true,”
was my David–
a man of many sensibilities–
but he would never worship that which he could not see.

I hadn’t realized how dead Mother had been
till I saw how alive the Church had made her.
They were as Lazarus,
raising up a new Laurie,
her old soul not made new
but replaced.

Beth & Gerald Foster had been like my fairy godparents,
their diner turning back into a pumpkin,
fertilized by silver bells & cockleshells.

Life pulled us forward now,
& our future began to steal from our past,
diminishing the memories I’d once held close.

In Sacrament, we took Him inside us,
in Sunday school, we learned about Him inside us,
but in Relief Society,
we separated ourselves from the one
we had become one with.

#Fiction Friday: #Micropoetry from the Book

mormoni

Mother was like an onion–
her many layers gradually being peeled back–
causing the tears to come quicker.
Her history had not been known
but was still being discovered,
&, like the universe,
would never be all the way known.

Though we had never gone anywhere outside the U.S.,
I traveled through David’s lectures,
through the tastes & smells of unfamiliar foods,
the sounds of music, the sight of photos,
the touch of artifacts.
He didn’t take me around the world
but brought the world to me.

According to David,
God was either a figment of imagination
or an extraterrestrial with powers
more advanced than ours.

Caitlin was denim & lace,
I, satin & pearls,
but Mother was cut from a different cloth;
whatever it was had a high thread count.
Other women were nylon & polyester,
but she was like the finest Egyptian cotton,
her skin like the softest silk–
even the wool she pulled over my eyes
was vibrantly colored.

David believed Jesus was a great prophet,
that Jesus only believed He was God
because others had told Him so,
for hadn’t there been many Messiahs
before & since?
Perhaps Jesus had simply been better
at branding himself.

#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.