Baptism of John

by Veronica McDonald

Baptizing heads dunked in shame risen in 
hope, glistening and new with Jordan water
the sun beaming through the clouds like a
portal straight to the land of future promises.
Baptizing the heads of my sons, the heads of
my daughters, my brothers and sisters, wheat
separating from the chaff. Baptizing with
sticky honey hands washed clean 
sins trickling through his ears
breath of locusts — REPENT! For the 
Kingdom of Heaven is at hand! — with those
wild brown eyes that have seen the provision
of God in the wilderness. Those hands
touching the Body of Sinlessness, filled with
doubt and awe and questions he won’t allow
himself to ask - Do you come to me? [Are you 
the one, or is there another?] He knew once 
as a babe floating in the womb, fetal head
baptized in Elizabeth’s life-giving waters the
Spirit knitting him together for a great work.
Baptizing the sinless head of God, who will
fall and rise again in glory, the Trinity proclaimed 
before those searching eyes. 
Wild eyes and honey hands rubbing against 
stone and chain longing for that river, crisp 
clear and cool stirring with thirsty folk itchin’
with spirit-filled air. He’s itchin’ now, itchin’
to know what’s going on beyond those walls
beneath those waters — Send word, cousin,
are you the one to come? — Truth hums 
through his ears, steady as it ever has
peace drifting in and out of his cell, trusting
in what his free eyes have seen, what he felt
in that womb though he can’t remember it
(before he knew the world, he knew Him)
letting the silence and darkness drip off him
like still water and the brown eyes cast toward
the coming light, unable to find fear in the 
executioner’s blade baptizing him all over
again in blood that will cry out Repent! from
Herod’s golden platter, in Salome’s shaking hands.

Veronica McDonald is a published fiction writer, poet, and artist, and the editor and founder of Heart of Flesh Literary Journal. Veronica holds an M.A. in Literature from American University, and has work published in Amethyst Review, Lost Pen Magazine, Horizons Magazine, and Five on the Fifth, among others. You can find out more about her work at:

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