Baptism

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Where is the room where I can unpack
all my shit at once and be done? Where
can I lay out the geraniums and grief
and underwear on the floor and stomp
around power hungry like a watchdog
done with work? When I was born,
was I given a place of my own, and if so,
when did I lose it? I can’t remember
the first town I lived in or the first room
I slept in or any singular moment
when I called for you out of love.
Did I ever? And if I didn’t, why not?
A small child, in a garden of tall sunflowers
and weeds, was it then I realized nothing
grew if you didn’t have a home? I routinely
kill the most durable plants now. I learned
nothing about botany or scripture. Once
though I got baptized in a hot tub, submerged
in tepid water in a crow’s nest above
the church. You weren’t there to watch me —
that year you lived in your bed — but I held
my breath underwater and saw your face:
paper teeth, button nose, a crown of hair
so jet black it looked fake. I was cold.
I wanted to go home. Later, I moved
to Arizona in search of warmth and found
scorpions in its place.
BAPTISM by Emily Lake Hansen

Photo used under CC.




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About Author

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Emily Lake Hansen is the author of Home and Other Duty Stations (Kelsay Books, forthcoming 2020) and the chapbook "The Way the Body Had to Travel" (dancing girl press, 2014). Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Rust + Moth, Nightjar Review, SWWIM Every Day, Stirring: A Literary Collection, and BARNHOUSE among others. A 2018 Best of the Net nominee, she serves as the Poetry Editor for Minerva Rising Press and spends most of her time playing children's board games in Atlanta.

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