John Baptizing Jesus

He must have been a sight:
barbaric hair, dilated eyes (prelude
to Herodias’ still life on the platter).
 
They say he lived on wild honey and the long torsos
of locusts, that he dressed in fetid camel pelts
and rags, and that he ranted
 
as if he had a finger in a messianic
socket, his arm a limb of lightning
in the shallows of the Jordan.
 
Then one day Jesus in his yellow hair, the whole head
thundering under water, and heaven downloaded
between the bodies of two cousins,
 
baptist and carpenter,
genetic tripwires sizzlingthe Holy Spirit
furring vision, and then the Lord’s voice
 
great blue whale
breached on the banks of being. Rose light
on the mountains, all mythic harvestsheen
 
and mystery, all potential in the instantaneous
skating of the cloudsthen recognition
as the boys, wet and electric,
 
nod to one another the unremitting readiness, the Now.
And the ecstatic knowing.
The tragic ecstatic knowing.

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

“To the Bone,” which recently premiered on Netflix, tells the story of 20-year-old Ellen (Lily Collins), who is living with anorexia nervosa.
Karen RossJuly 21, 2017
The distinction between the disciplines of theological work and how these function in our common life is necessary.
What is it about habits and cassocks that capture the imagination of even secular audiences?
Ashley McKinlessJuly 21, 2017
Why Ron Hansen will never read the Gospels the same.
Ron HansenJuly 20, 2017