Gasping for Air

Continuing my lectionary poetry project, this piece is based on Mark 1:1-11

Listen. Did you hear it?

There was a sound of expectations rending apart, something heavenly being split open

The divide that was between us and what is much greater than us has been smashed and from the looks of it I don’t think we’re putting it back together that easily.

And as we look to see what could have possibly made that hole in the heavens all we can find is a tiny dove.

A dove and a voice are all we get to see as proof that this rending, this tearing, this schism is worth seeing.

And these  two guys that say all I have to do is get in the water. That it’ll wash everything away, let me start fresh

I tell them they’ll have to hold me under a while. I’ve got a bit more grime on me than I’d like to admit

The water is so cold. You’d think it would be refreshing for what it claims to do but all I can feel as I wade in is my chest tightening up as the chill bites at me, working its way up my bones.

They plunge me beneath the surface and I’m underwater for what feels like forever, like they took my joke about my grime all too seriously. Everything feels like it’s closing in around me, the icy water seeming to freeze, encasing me in this mistake. I was simply too dirty to get clean.

Light. I see glorious light as I’m brought up, terrified, soaking wet, gasping for breath as if I thought I’d never get the chance to feel air in my lungs again.

I hear something in the distance, barely audible over my own distracted panting. Something about someone being “well pleased.”

Am I any different now? Has anything changed? All I can think of is surviving this frigid bath I just undertook.

But as I haul myself out of the water, I feel the light on me again and I am warmer than I’ve ever been. And when I look down at my arms, still dripping from the water, I see a shine that I haven’t noticed in a long time.

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