They paint you standing in the river, or kneeling,
never more than waist deep, head inclined,
hands folded in prayer or fluttering at your breast
like a demure virgin answering an angel, ecce ancilla,
while John pours dainty trickles from a shell over your hair.
They are all like this, annunciations not baths,
not baptisms, nothing like the drowning dream
you gasp through at night: dead weight in water,
you kick and claw but go nowhere, air gushes out
in a geyser of bubbles, and the last thing you see is your own
dear face upturned, lolling half sorrowful, half serene
just beneath the surface, the panic over, given in.