I don’t mean
to sound
like a feminist
but I can’t believe
I’m putting on
a scarf to outwit the
neighborhood lecher.

“Aren’t you a christian?”
my mother asks, agog,
a question I find so
humorous I take longer
than I needed to answer,
so that I can revel in her
expression for a moment.

“Why, no,” I reply calmly,
“But being a christian and
being a decent human being
are not mutually exclusive
conditions, don’t you know.”

Forgiveness is one thing
but when he still lives
by his sin how can I
absolve him of something
he is not sorry for?

Merry Christmas,
mother, but I think
you’re missing
the point.
“That’s not very Christian of you.” Every time, in my childhood, that one of us did something that my parents didn’t like. To be honest, I never really understood what they meant by it. I went to church every Sunday, because I had to, until I hit high school and my mother gave up on me. I didn’t learn, at home, in that building, or in the Catholic school I spent my life in, what it meant to be a Christian. It’s a word people threw around that had no basis in any kind of upbringing that I was a part of, certainly.

But I did know I was supposed to be a good person, and god help me, I tried.

I know I shouldn’t have raised such a fuss about the man my mother invited to dinner. I know that is sort of the point of the Christmas season, that her invitation was the Christian thing to do. But you must forgive me, I didn’t want to be leered at over my mashed potatoes. He stayed home, and I thought the leftovers my mother packed up for him were a great idea. I sincerely hope he enjoyed them.

I hope you all had a lovely holiday.


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