The Terms of My Conversion.
Summoned by the spirit that summer I slipped out back into the woods,
Snapping off the fanning branches I arrayed on the altar in our cellar--
The tablecloth-draped box Covered with candles and the leafy display I
was suddenly wild to worship.
You'll set the house on fire!
My stepmother screamed, put those candles out,
Dousing the whole ceremony, But not that wakened pagan sense of things
Which has never since quit me, The god in the Gnostic gospel Like the
soul inside the tree.
A few years later the woods were sold, Clear-cut for one of those tract
Suburban cul-de-sacs, split-leveled And sectioned into lots. It looked
to me Like a patch of skin shaved around An incision, raw and what
I'd now call Glairy, the sutures all tied off.