I sit in my mother’s lap and she cries,
my father is enraged, my younger brother
promises he would never
ever treat a woman badly.
He would never try to
My family members were not evangelicals—
they were parishioners of a different kind, Baptists.
When I read the headline of the news
and it says Billy Graham is dead.
I don’t have the time to care.
He was old and he hated gay people. He made a lot
of money and anger. But
then, days later, I’m sitting
in the black leather chairs
of a police station, waiting,
a voice in my head says,
Billy Graham is dead.
Trauma is like a postmodern
novel, the plot is not linear—
you get lost in the dialogue,
the black chairs, the way the officer says,
can you please explain
to me what this means?
You say, it is a sexual thing
you would never participate in. He writes it all,
takes your name, your number.
Says, Honey, You did the right thing.
You say: Officer, did you know
that Billy Graham is dead?
When I was a child, sitting in a pew,
we sang about Abraham. He had many sons,
those sons had children too. Many men
did Father Abraham make.
I drive by a local Methodist church, it’s Sunday.
They’re all walking from their cars to the church.
It takes everything in me not to honk,
not to bash the horn of my wheel in. And scream.
In my dream I hit the man with my car,
he hits me first but I get away. I jump into my car
my mechanical mother’s lap and with the same rage
my father feels, I hit him with my car. Then it’s over—
they told me it would never would be, but when I hit him
it’s over. In his dreams, I am number one
on a list of things to have, to conquer.
I never get to hit him with a car and he never touches me.
Billy Graham saved some souls but damned a lot of others.
This is how I know that someone’s dream is always another’s nightmare.