I was born into a Bible,
Genesis and Leviticus.

Those bright little apples?
too green to pick,
how dare I weep

when little black ticks
fell from burning bushes
and stuck?

My father tweezered them out
one by one,
so many teeny iniquities.

When I was six,
he read the bit
about that unforgivable sin—

which I knew
I would commit

if I hadn’t already. Didn’t his God
visit peccadilloes
unto the fourth and fifth generation

and by third grade,
wouldn’t I be tied to an altar
with no sacrificial lamb

appearing in the thicket?
Hadn’t my mother

tied me in a chair?
So perhaps even
believers can understand

it was revelation
when I read
those Greek myths,

and realized
there were gods
far more merciful

because they were
far more wicked
than I could ever be.

Lois Marie Harrod’s 18th book Spat was published in June 2021. Her collection Woman won the 2020 Blue Lyra Prize. Nightmares of the Minor Poet appeared in June 2016 (Five Oaks. Dodge poet and lifelong teacher, she has been published in journals from American Poetry Review to Zone 3. www.loismarieharrod.org