The time my neighbor Jeff Pettit came
by Michael Philips
outside when I was ten and – I can’t
remember why – shot staples at me from
his stapler, my esteem for him plummeted
with the impotent trajectory of the staples.
I already held him in declining regard for
recruiting me to experience the stepford
smiles of his mormon congregation.
His parents kept glancing over to see how
my face was responding to all the singing
Years later, appalled by the church’s
excommunication of dissenting women,
my colleague Julie wrote and asked to be
They sent back a letter expressing concern
about her soul and setting a trial date.
No, you don’t understand, she wrote back,
I don’t want a trial, I just want to be
In a response noteworthy as much for its
anticlimactic brevity as for its utter resignation,
they wrote back and said ok done.
Julie knew that hidden behind the terse
wording, they were busy blacking out her
name, de-listing her, purporting to speak
for God, firing blanks.