Academic journal article Dialogue : A Journal of Mormon Thought

Self-Portrait of Mormon Middle Child as Isabella

Academic journal article Dialogue : A Journal of Mormon Thought

Self-Portrait of Mormon Middle Child as Isabella

Article excerpt

I

One by one within a month, four siblings bring their grievances before Father, ruler of our domain. The laws of the home are too strict, they complain, no gum in the house-let alone sex or booze. No shoes on the living room's cream carpet. A three-hour dose of church Sunday morning, an hour of seminary each day. They prefer to smoke pot, join debate club and practice their hot words on the walls of our home, fire bombs through windows. They drink and fuck and play angry guitars in the garage, dip tube socks in gasoline, light them, slingshot flaming baby gerbils, rodent rockets, over the backyard fence. They raise geckos, garter snakes, an albino rat they shoot in the head when it escapes and eats a litter of baby gerbils. They hyperbolize to shock, say they've tried heroin, crack, watch Father crumble to new resolve, his whiplash no longer lax. Laws no more a scarecrow where birds perch, forgetting terror. He cuts them off, clips their wings, hurls them into future.

II.

I cloister myself in my room, like a Mormon nun, except there's no such thing. …

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