Thursday, November 4, 2021


Almost every night in the sixties and
Into at least the early seventies,

The Moody Bible Institute broadcast
A melodramatic radio show

In each episode of which a sinner
Played by an actor would come to Jesus

And be saved, not without many false steps
And flourishes played on a church organ

In between. In New Jersey, one mother
Who listened, you might say, religiously,

Raised a number of adopted children.
Having been bred an evangelical

In a New England family entangled
With that same Moody Bible Institute,

And having been born again at so young
An age she remembered her second birth

No better than her first, she was hardly
Similar to those unshackled adults

Whose conversions lifted them from gambling,
Drink, prostitution, and embezzlement

Nightly on her show. But something about
How she raised her children from ruined homes

And dragged them to church but also watched them
Curiously, almost with detachment,

Should have been a warning they might reverse
The narrative trajectory she knew—

Getting saved early, then falling from grace.
Humans tell tales all the ways you make clothes,

Probably first made about the same time
And for much the same reasons, to protect,

To ornament, to advertise status
Or accept an assigned identity,

To remember who you are. If you love
Brands off the rack, it’s one thing. If you love

To sew pattern items it’s another.
Who knows why the woman who adopted

So many children only loved to give
Them ill-fitting, hand-me-down, cast-off clothes?

She liked to brush off their complaints. Let’s see
How you grow, she’d say. Let’s see how you grow.

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