A Childhood Sacred Place

God came down on a dusty ray of light
in the late afternoon, after my homework
was done but before Mom called for dinner,
when my mind was blank and itching,
while the falling sun smudged the horizon.

I met God beside the tree
behind the small, white gazebo
where a red plastic swing hung
and ferns grew tangled with ivy
where the dog liked to nap in the shade.

I stood on the flat rocks surrounding
the tree that served as gravestones
for family pets. I tried to imagine them,
fur, feathers, and scales fading,
buried in shoeboxes invaded by roots.

I circled the tree with a hand
on the trunk for balance. Bending under
branches and carefully stepping on each rock,
I asked God, as he sat cross-legged on the lawn
watching me and twirling a strand of white hair,
whether or not He did, in fact, exist.

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