I baptized men all day, my
limbs tiring, shivering with cold.
Toward evening the teachers appeared,
seeking baptism.

Absolution, not repentance.
Or just to laugh at me – my
sight does not extend to hearts.

I had a vision of snakes in my river,
blood and dirt in the water,
never clearing, God striking me. I said:

“Bear fruit before being buried,
or be burned. Who said
the river cleared your sins?”
Jesus walked through the crowd.

“Bury me instead, John,” he said.
I saw Uzzah touching the ark,
beasts touching the mountain,
being burned.

“Fear not,” he said,
walking into the river.
I followed, protesting.
He turned. “Permit this.

first drafted early 2000s

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