i was baptized so many times, my family
must not have understood its action as rebirth.
instead: accumulation. each time we broke
a new surface, raining holiness from drenched
hair, we carried with us another layer—our hearts an orchard
of candied apples rather than something cleansed
and made new. now, everything is a baptism
i never asked for.
my face is born again
with micellar water each morning.
orzo noodles bob like so many submerged
heads in the boil of my saucepan. every carwash
feels like drowning, thrashing, waiting for a god
i don’t believe in to let me breathe.
what i didn’t know
then, back when my mother glazed
us with the blessing of each priest and pastor,
with the reborn waves of the gulf coast
and every drink she could swallow,
is that water is beautiful
because it erodes
and she was so desperate to feel saved.