Second Womb

I see the people

dressed in white

(just as he said)

screaming—


I grip the frays of his childhood

rope, the burn and pleasure

of callouses


—blisters of Spirit

cleansing sins, women


chanting,

“these were never ours

to clean”—


Dad says, “you know this river is over

360 million years old?”


Charles: “the Bible says the world is only 10,000 years old.”


—“these were never ours

to clean”—


It is a baptism and I too am dunking

my head.

A woman speaks in tongues, Charles recites

prayer (like an Exorcist).

In their grapple

for my life, I don’t blame them

for being men.


I surrender

to the river

belting, “mother”—

she begs of me more

than I am.

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