Baptismal Font


We’re napping in a basement
Seeping with sweat
Sewage leaking through the cracks
In the floor and our hearts.
This foundation is a tribute
To Old Faithful.

Matched fingertips
Charred from mediocre string strumming,
From cracking into a piñata
That was glass bottles of watery beer.
It is an altar
And something about this turned into
Our faith and hope.

I can’t get clean.
But in a different way than
You can’t get clean.

You try finding your way home,
Home to your skeleton-kitten purring at
Unopened tuna cans
Instead you lay to sleep
Somewhere with sore veins.

You can’t bribe St. Pete with molting wings.
The sun shone too brightly, too long.
The son of Icarus flew too high, too far.
Towards a heaven
That tasted like aspartame.

I’m not clean because
I did the hokey-pokey
On broken glass.
My socks are fused to my healing wounds.

It was a right of passage
To straddle space and time
Not dying and dying
All the same.

Hail Mary,
I prayed-
Not to the virgin;
The prayer was for a miracle
Last-ditched effort
To score some sort of touchdown.

Hail overlords!
I sneer.
Corporations and unions
Breaking my pathetic faux-punk heart.

Sacrificing sanctity in baptismal showers
Steaming streams of ale and tears
Releasing the blood clotting at my feet.
It was all new again.
And He saw that it was good.

I take your hand in my own,
Startled that I remember mine
Sad that I never knew yours in the first place.
A too-short look into my eyes
Is morse code for “goodbye.”
You hitch a ride back home to be re-burned.

I smelled smoke Monday morning
As I buttoned up my shirt
The sleeved were too tight and I winced,
Hating myself for expecting that
It wouldn’t hurt.

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