Hell’s bells my father rolled off his tongue when frustrated or not pleased with the current situation. They weren’t the angry words when his temper swelled and overpowered his vulnerable body. Being only human, those other words turned him into a mutation in the late late show viewed at a slumber party, shaming me in front of my 12-year-old friends. Hell’s bells was not like those words. Or like the words he shot at someone invisible when my mother jumped out of bed so his swinging fists and closed eyes didn’t find a target in this dimension. Hell’s bells were a picture book church and weddings and the little Christmas bell my mother let me hang on the tree when I was three. I kept taking it down to play with its clapper. Cling cling cling. Later, I heard that expression in that land between sad and happy, living and dead. Hell’s bells were a paean to poetry, creating sound from anima and the mouth’s cavern, the rhyme tripping fast and spirited and renewable.
Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 22, Issue 4.
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