Abel and the Baptismal Water

BaptismThere are those who would say, my child,
that the water poured today upon your baby skin
will sanctify you, and give you grace
and I suppose that in some way
it is true.

But even more I think that you
will sanctify it,
like you did the day we met you
fresh off a plane from Ethiopia,
exhausted by a trip across an ocean,
confused about the man who gently and yet strangely
held you through the flight,
and wondering numbly about the woman who greeted you
with open arms and shining eyes and wet cheeks
and with two little girls hovering at her side
like happy dragonflies.

Your luminosity in the airport that day attracted a crowd,
and many cameras blinked in your direction
as people tried to capture,
for themselves,
the way you made the water sparkle,
that water,
the baptismal water which is always pouring down on us
in rivulets of grief
in torrents of sadness
in the constant soothing flow of life itself,
the water made manifest to us that day
by the sanctifying arrival
of a little boy
named Abel.

Marya Small
Woodbine, N.J.

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