to emerge freer

a river is just snow that has melted
yet naked, we slowly walk in

i am timid, running back to shore
as the cold pierces my legs

yet you remain, sinking slowly
until you are kneeling patiently
in the numbing water

after a few times of running in
and back out,
i finally submerse my whole body
under the water

it takes my breath away

i know what baptism is
was raised catholic
(drilled into my brain)

but what beauty
to take my body, next to yours
into the freezing river

and to emerge
colder, lighter

what beauty to emerge freer


follow currents

hollow bones
follow currents
invisible as the breath
that fills my lungs

I remember watching the river with you
that summer
learning how to read the current
the flow, the seams, the ripples, the patterns
a language not spoken, but observed

lately, I learn new words
(a virga is a streak
of rain across the sky
that dissipates before ever
touching the ground)

try to name my grief
try to name my guilt
try to name them over and over but they

flow from somewhere else,
not mouth or brain

sit inside spaces

and I remember, always, the river
as I look towards the sky
and breathe in
as I dig into the dirt
and observe

currents are wind and water
light and earth
leading and guiding
so that I may follow