I counted myself subject to the goddess who stood laughing in a rain soaked field not far from where I found a planisphere half sunk in the mud: a scorch mark at 01:30 on the outer dial, a narrow crack running from Polaris to Cancer. She had left her sisters in the charnel ground to walk upon a white downland path, gathering form as she moved through each shallow valley toward the dissolving coast. Once I had embraced her in the mill flooded with moonlight, a wreath of leaves twisted about her head, herbs and resinous twigs burning in a bowl, her face turned aside for the sake of a magical commitment forgotten so rapidly, treated with such casual interest.


I knew myself subject to the devourer who hung between greenwood and the underworld, his head fringed by a mane of yellow web, his speech a series of numbers. At his bidding, a terrible creature made of sinewy strands of old dead plant reared up on its hind legs, claws ramping the air: cat ears, mouth that bulged open as if straining to expel something foul. It reduced me to some moonish, milkish child, cigarette burns and cuts on my arm: not noughts and crosses but necrosis. With my lopsided face and scribbled on whiskers, I cast down my father among nettles into the cleft at the root of the twin oak.