John Baptizing Jesus Poem by Deborah DeNicola

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 sizzling, the 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 harvest, sheen

and mystery, all potential in the instantaneous
skating of the clouds, then recognition
as the boys, wet and electric,

nod to one another the unremitting readiness, the Now
And the ecstatic knowing.
The tragic ecstatic knowing.

Deborah DeNicola

Deborah DeNicola

Richland, Washington
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