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)