You were baptized in the river, your robe bleached
white as original sin. I wore black patent leather
shoes and memorized the books of the Bible
more than others and was rewarded with a ten
commandments charm bracelet of copper
covered with fake gold. You don’t want me
to say God damnit. You believe in the fire
of lake, River Styx and unnamed dead reaching
their skeletal arms to tip over the boat. We open a bottle
of wine and I say I once knew how to walk on water
but forgot the trick when I floated down a tunnel
into the light, arrived in this mortal coil, my skin
and organs too tight, doing my best to breathe oxygen,
acclimate to Earth’s gravitational pull.
I love talking heaven and hell with you, the difference
between people who collect hair and those who eat
their own fingernails like unleavened bread.
Beth Gordon received her MFA from American University a long time ago and was not heard from again until 2017 when her poems began to appear in numerous online and print journals including Into the Void, Outlook Springs, Verity La and After Happy Hour Review. Landlocked in St. Louis for 17 years, Beth has taught several local writing workshops, and is co-founder of a poetry reading series in Grafton, IL. She is also co-editor of Gone Lawn, a journal of poetry and progressive fiction.