“Wearing nothing but snakeskin boots,
I blazed a footpath,
the first radical road out of that old kingdom
toward a new unknown.
When I came to those great flaming gates of burning gold,
I stood alone in terror at the threshold between Paradise and Earth.
There I heard a mysterious echo:
my own voice
singing to me from across the forbidden side.
I shook awake—at once alive in a blaze of green fire.
Let it be known: I did not fall from grace.
by Ansel Elkins