Baptism

For Alyce

Voices, indiscriminate, mingled with
The rushing water, white noise
Suggestions of unfinished conversations,
Whispered and bellowed
During this interminable day.

If I closed my eyes I could
Conjure the river in the Spring:
Unfiltered melted snow rushing
Next to an old Indian trail
Long since paved over,
Lavender on its banks, the oil
Of which perfumes a colicky baby’s bath.

Wash away the day, you say,
Crawl into bed with no hint
Of the dust that sticks
To your skin, that burdensome layer
Sent to the waterways with
The race of men who live
In its rapids.

The nights should pass as fast
As years with young children.
Slow the day and walk on the earth with dry feet
Sound, circum caput, no longer
Plagued like Macbeth, but
Reborn, unburdened, present
And able to rest.