Articles of Faith

1

I am Ansaphone, hello. My hair color is henna.
On a scale of one to ten, I am considered highly gregarious,
moderately loyal,
decent, diligent, eager to please.
Please leave me a detailed message after the tone.
I will get back to you as soon as possible—

2

Mother, the other day, when I rested
my hands on your shoulders, they seemed so small.
I wonder how you keep your purse on.
I want you to know
I feel the laying on of hands on my head every night,
I remember the feeling of being underwater
with the missionary's hands holding mine. I know you
have heard the rumor: I knock
stones with other girls' stones. Please
do not worry. I am thinking of you
and Father in separate grain elevators
in Kansas. I am thinking about you both.

3

On my way to the post office, I collide with Uncle Chen.
Uncle, I say. You look so
Uncle Chen today; I like the way you
drape your bright chen, it feels
exquisitely Marxist, and I know you are proud to be uncle.
Your socialist car is appropriately rusted, the doors
no longer shut.
Everywhere the magpies are falling, my wires constrict
around the wrists and ankles.
When will it stop?

4

Mother, you are shrinking, I say.
I do not want to alarm you, but
the mathematics of your body proportions no longer add up.
Mother replies: Do not worry, Daughter.
There is milk in my purse. There is time.
I do not think anything will happen
in the grain elevator. I am reading Kahlil Gibran.

5

Q: Would you please tell the congregation who taught you how to shoot a gun?

A: It was my uncle. He asked me to shoot a few soda cans. My family, we are all renegades.

Q: Do you have anything else you would like to confess? Have you ever had homosexual relations with a person of the same sex?

A: No. I have only had homosexual relations with persons of the opposite sex. I find the following words obscene: tit, cunt, dick, dickwad, bang, balls, clit. The others I have used. When I was young, my father taught me this phrase: Chairman Mao is the red sun in our hearts! I can say it in two languages; this is what it sounds like in Chinese: Mao Zhu Xi shi wo men xin zhong de hong yang.

Q: Do you have a strong testimony that Joseph Smith is the true prophet of the true gospel and that the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ?

A: On my eighth birthday, I did not go to church. My Buddhist grandmother hid me in a brown cardigan on her bed, so that the bishop could not find me. I did not want to go under the water with people watching me, or have hands lain upon my head, or afterwards eat cake. I did not want to wear a white polyester gown and have people see my body through my wet clothes, as I rose from the baptismal font.

Q: What has made you change your mind today?

A: Today I do not mind being wet. Today I want to save others.



*published in Salt Hill