A Portrait of a Nine Year Old Girl

///A Portrait of a Nine Year Old Girl
A Portrait of a Nine Year Old Girl 2017-01-06T20:25:51+00:00

a PORTRAIT OF A NINE YEAR OLD GIRL

 

The priest ignited her with prayer, dread

of damnation and resurrection. With knees

still raw from eternal kneeling she fled

 

down canyons until she could see

the water. After the rain, the pond spilled

over the plateau surrounding the trees.

 

She traipsed through a thicket up a hill,

found bits of opaque skin from a king snake

then its shiny black sheath flattened and still.

 

The pond appeared as the fog began to break,

the rim echoed light from the stars,

as tree frogs leapt and grass blades quaked.

 

She squeezed dozens of frogs into a jar–

soon they wilted and died. She raced

home, scraped mud caked shoes, picked burrs

 

off clothes, hid the jar in the sacred place,

under the bed. The dead hidden, she closed the door

and prayed for all their tiny bodies to levitate

 

and convert into a cloud of green vapor.

 

(Published originally as “Green Resurrection” by River Oak Review)