• Vol. 09
  • Chapter 01


My second cousin’s wife was born into an Amish family
In the middle-of-nowhere Indiana
Surrounded by cornfields as far as the eye can see
The unmistakable architecture of Amish-built homes
White and wood, unshuttered windows, unadorned eaves
Dotting the fields with farm stands, outbuildings and barns
The antithesis of Rococo flair, nothing in excess, nothing ostentatious

When she was 16, her family pushed her out into the world
An Amish debutante on her Rumspringa, devoid of rules
Their faith was strong and, they presumed that hers was too
After carousing, “running around” in the world of heathens
They’d figured she’d return to the church (like most youngsters do)
To be baptised, married and settle down in a big white house of her own
Only that’s not what happened at all

While “dressing English” in jeans and tees, hair uncovered
Driving around in cars and meeting other teens, she met someone
She learned what it felt like to have a lover’s hot breath on her neck
To make out for hours as the sun set and the crickets began to chirp
She learned what she liked, what made her nipples stand erect
And what made her loins burn in a way she thought must be love
And then she learned that teenage boys will lie through their teeth



She was late and this was not happening; should she tell him? She should
She did, he didn’t want it, didn’t seem to care, said it was her problem
She cried, confused and alone not sure where to turn
Harboring a secret that that would break her mother’s heart
My second cousin dried her eyes, told her it would be okay
How do you know? I just do. As he swept her hair from her face
Tenderly kissing her brow and gently holding her hand

They were married that spring, she was just starting to show
Her son was born early autumn and they raised him as their own
She didn’t go back to her family, didn’t get baptized in the church
The jeans and tees permanently replaced hand-sewn gingham
Another son, a bigger house, a life among the English
A yapping dog, bills to pay and the cat sunning itself in the hall
And memories of a pious quietude that’s no longer hers