When John was done sloughing off the sins
of hard soldiers and taxmen, your turn came.
You waded in knee-deep, brown water
eddying behind. He watched you come,
still plump from home, your mother’s child.
You met his eyes. Startled and unsure
he washed you anyway. You waded out,
lifting your tunic out of the pile,
sliding it over wet hair.
He noticed you shake out
the cloak, coarse weave,
whittled peg to close the neck.
It turned cloudy. A gust came up.
The next one spun you toward wasteland
silent as bone. Was it thunder he heard,
announcing a storm?