Copyright © Lee Ann Mortensen 2002




You tell me you’re an angry woman
who once talked honestly to men.
Then they said, “Forgive.”
They said, “If Christ forgave everyone,
certainly you can forgive your ex.”
They said in Heaven your son would never be yours
if you didn’t.
And you walked out
tearing your God papers, tossing them in a ditch.
Your father ran over and picked them up,
tried to argue you back in to the fold.
Your mother who forgave them all years ago
sat in the car watching,
wishing she was at Nordstrom’s.  

But you were done.
No more Mormon-modest dresses on Sunday, 
or bits of white bread sucked between teeth.
No more hints of flirting olive leg
for the Godly power men
who tell us they can take us to
No, no post-death space travel,
or trust,
or red lipstick for them.

Your anger is so hard I twist where I sit,then laugh,
then squint as your eyes tighten
around the idea that there is no winning.
“I’m passionless,” you tell me.  “They’re all killers.”
As you say this, your eyes cough intensity so deep
I want to kiss you, ingest your anger with my tongue,
and I almost do, I almost move my face toward yours,
but then you laugh and wave your hands
as if they were made of feathers.  

It would be easy to be in love with you,
but I’m holding back. 
The pills you take now take your edge off, 
tone you down,
leak gray smoothness into all male conspiracies.
They help you do what the God men suggested
years ago.
at least a little.