Renunciations

Renunciations

Bahá’ís, a newer but respected faith
without too many folks to spare,

went down one woman a couple of years ago:
trading her nine-point star for six,

she signed on with the Jews. To clear the decks,
she came by with a canvas bag of prayers–

two dozen hand-sized books, a shape reserved
for Beat Poets and God–and dropped

them for my wife, who’d be a Deacon if
Bahá’ís had clergy, handling this surprise

and spiritual transactions of all kinds.
But she was out; so I took the bag, wishing

my new-found sister luck, and left it by
the door, as good a place as any for

a decommissioned thing, as if you took
a prayer scroll from its door-post box

and painted over frame and box alike.
Of course, if someone had a mind to check

this neighborhood for signs of minor faiths–
to make sure only people of the Cross

(or Crescent) got the government job or place
to read some 1920s-English Farsi prayers–

then casting off the books would not protect
you. Bury “Vouchsafe until me, my God”

under the yard, so deep that all those much-
repeated words would slowly change, transform

into a cryptic plate of offerings
each spring; a lighter meal that was a fast;

a way of knowing multiples of nine
would somehow keep you in the book of life.