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Thursday, September 03, 2015


by Jennifer Clark

Graphic illustrating Bill Gothard’s 7 Basic Principles. Source: Raw Story. 

“As I became a teenage young man I was constantly tempted to have lots of wrong thoughts, 
and often battled to keep my heart right.” 
—Josh Duggar, August 21, 2015, at the Josh & Anna Duggar Family website.

It’s pouring porn. Filth floods the streets. Unborn babes tumble
from the sky and clog the gutters. Nobody here trusts roofs,
especially Christ, who is patrolling the attic holding one hell
of a big umbrella.

Christ’s canopy looms over the husband who is on the second
floor slipping into loafers while clasping an umbrella,
a poor imitation of Christ’s, a little less mighty, but still, bigger

than the parasol his wife who—may she always be scurrying
one floor beneath him—holds over their 14, 15, 16 kids
and counting. With her free hand she spoons oatmeal
into her children’s mouths, then mops the dirty, dirty floors.

All these umbrellas make it difficult to move.
Dangerous, even. Here and there a lamp shatters.

The firstborn, Josh, craves a glimpse of sky. As a teen, finds it
standing in the laundry room folding a blue dress, prowls into
the bedroom for more, steals some as she pretends to sleep.

Here and there a vase shatters.

When his sky-snatching ways are discovered, Josh is sent to
a training center where he learns all about umbrellas: how to
open them, wave them about, and never, ever close them.

He returns with a brand new umbrella. Everyone feels safe.

Some years later, Josh marries a girl named Anna and Ashley
Madison—who loves to feel the rain on her skin— tells him
Life is short. Have an affair. He listens.

His wife blames her umbrella. If only it was prettier. If only she
had held it higher. She buys blue eyeshadow and starts walking
through the house on tiptoes while her husband
stands just as he has been taught, under thin ribs
radiating refuge, the whole bloody sky wailing.

Jennifer Clark lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Her first book of poetry, Necessary Clearings, was published by Shabda Press