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.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement
Advertisement

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

Francis is the first pope to come to the Amazon region, and he insisted that his first event and major speech of his visit to Peru should be to this place.
Gerard O’ConnellJanuary 19, 2018
President Donald Trump addresses the 2018 March of Life from the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Trump’s video appearance at the march culminates a year of pro-life appointments and administrative actions to limit abortions.
Michael J. O’LoughlinJanuary 19, 2018
Pope Francis blesses a woman during his weekly audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican Aug. 9 . (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano)
You have heard it said, “Who run the world? Girls” (Bey 4:12). But we ask: Who runs the church?
Ashley McKinlessJanuary 19, 2018
The Gospel we heard today is a tactical trainwreck. It tells us to offer no resistance to enemies and love them instead.
Sam Sawyer, S.J. January 19, 2018