Remember

by Ralkkai

I abandoned you a year and a lifetime ago
and I haven’t looked back, I haven’t wanted to miss you.
You are my Indiana love letter, sitting at the kitchen table
telling my mother I don’t believe in Jesus,
And like some sort of spinning wheel;
a mechanism sets into motion. An autonoma.
This is the foreshadowing of my life.

Dear mother, I still don’t believe in Jesus.
I don’t believe in beautiful sunsets, sweeping through the pines
of the countryside in the rural Midwest.

I don’t believe in tears anymore. They are superficial, at best.

I am humming a tune that makes no sound as I try to understand this
angry political machine that runs this nation.
(Read like this: “ruins this nation.”)
I am trying to find a thing to believe in.

Why have I never learned to understand faith.

Faith…

If I could, I would, I would go back to that time-
You – Drunk and passed out under Christmas trees,
You – Hiding hot, metal pipe puffs of marijuana behind smiles and cigarette drags,
You – Car rides to the houses where you and dad used to drink with friends without any discernible features,
You – New Year’s Eve with Jagermeister and promises of Armageddon.
Me – My childhood, broken but not forgotten,

by me, at least.

Remember when I told you I don’t believe in Jesus and you said

“Yes you do.”

As if I had no goddamn choice in the matter?
As if I had no fucking choice, and you would kick your 14 year old son out of the house,
If he didn’t change his mind and apologize?

I’m sorry mother, I don’t believe in Heaven, and I don’t believe in Hell.
I’m sorry I don’t believe in angels and demons accept for those that paint your imagination –
the color of hope and anticipation. That some day you will see your biological father again,
and I’m sorry I don’t believe that God causes the heart to swell.

I’m sorry I don’t believe in Jesus.
And if I could go back…

“Let’s go to church on Sunday morning, Momma. Please”
“Don’t drink that much tonight so we can go in the morning.”
“And make sure dad can go to. Dad can even bring his favorite Bible.”
And we get into the car and drive the 10 minutes into town, to the giant tan Methodist building,
across from the fire station and down the road from the country store.
And we see people you are happy to see, that you have no ill thoughts about.
And the songs get sung, and you don’t have to look in the hymnal for the words to sing.
And the preacher walks up and tells you and us about Lazereth and how Jesus brought him back after three days.
Do you remember that one?
And he tells us about how Jesus fed a city with just a few loaves of bread and some fish.
Do you remember that one?
And he talks of how Jesus didn’t turn away the hungry, the homeless, the mentally insane, the whores, the homosexuals.
And he loved everyone. He even forgave Pilot.
Do you remember?
And then you tithe since you don’t need money for alcohol.
And everything is right.
And we’ll come back on Wednesday evening and feed the homeless in town.

And everything is fine.

And everything is fine.

Then we say grace at the dinner table and talk about our days and the TV isn’t turned on
with the 5 o’clock news telling us how horrible everyone else is.

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