I am ten in a white dress, confirmed in the Anglican church. I hold a white leather bible my mother has given me. It has a zipper like a tiny suitcase. I unzip it and see gold. The gold is cool, slippery and keeps the pages from opening. I split the gold with my thumb and the words appear on the finest paper I have seen. In between these pages are startling pictures.
Betty Ann is my friend. She is Catholic. I have gone to her church and kissed the Bishops ring. I want to be Catholic.
I will show Betty Ann my bible. I knock at her door and she comes outside. ‘Look what my Mom gave me’, I hold it out to her. She turns her back and says. ‘I can’t look, it’s not our bible, it’s a sin.’
Then she says, ‘Your dog won’t go to heaven.’
I don’t know if she is telling the truth.
I say my prayers at night afraid I will leave someone out of my blessing and accidentally kill them.
I grew up. My dogs are heaven.
I tried divinity in a building when I lost my inner compass but Church was like pouring myself into a cocktail dress after eating a bowl of pasta, like trying to drink the ocean with a fork.
‘Flowers, cats, and butterflies attend no church, have no illusions of history and destiny.’
I walk the fields, climb rocky paths, reflect by the river and lean into soft animal bodies.
I had a father. Divinity has no persona. It is the ecstatic, unknowable mystery.
The god of dirt
came to me many times and said
so many wise and delectable things, I lay
on the grass listening
to his dog voice,
frog voice; now,
he said, and now,
and never once mentioned forever…….
The white book lies in a dark drawer while I swoon with delight under the skies, in the cedars, by the river, so much fecund song, feathered movement I lose myself in the Holy.