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Baptism (Blake Bumpus-Lafayette, LA)



You know when I was way up there,
learning about public transportation
and wearing multiple colorful cardigans
in the May rain while
my eyes were just saturated with
all the water and air, I thought about home
but I did not miss home.
I knew that once I got on that airplane
I would emerge baptized, and I knew that
once I returned home I knew something happened
to me.
It would take a few months being
home again until I started to forgive
Louisiana for sinking me right back on in.
I thought the sky was clear but
the locals disagreed.
I saw clouds that turned into
snow capped giants, simply existing
and moving very slowly, you can see them
on top of the hill and down by the water.
I felt a shiver down to my toes when I knew
that I’d one day I’d be up there,
feeding the fish and keeping to myself,
sleeping in my Ford Explorer in proper
mountains for the first time.
When I was younger
those mountains were just so much
farther, my vision was
hazy and darker, I was in
a free fall of love and
breaking Sheetrock and
wanting so much to not see
anyone or anything at all.
Back then I often thought I saw
the future, back then I really
could not see much a future and
when I traveled to the past it only
made me think I couldn’t change anything.
Schizophrenia comes in shades of grey
and sometimes it leaks out like little
broken water guns.
And one day
I tied an anchor to my ankles
and the only reason why
I didn’t jump off that bridge
was because of you and a phone call.
You were my hot air balloon,
you saved me but I was killing you
and my damn anchor was killing me.
And when you let go of me,
I fell into the ocean,
and it was the baptism I needed, and
I learned that you can learn how to swim
pretty fucking fast when you stop trying
to grow gills and kick and flail your limbs
instead.
I was
2,630 miles and a
year away from all of that,
sleeping on a stranger’s couch
for five days and walking for miles
and getting no sleep but drinking
shots and shots of black blood from the earth.
I’m staring at the beach and the city
and the mountains and laughing at this
complete utter fiction-this-is-too-good-to-be-true
nonsense.
It’s just that touch of control
I fool myself into thinking I have.
It’s looking at the odds and diving in
teeth clenched and bracing for the thorns
to tear my skin, and boy when it happens
(because I know without a doubt it will)
I’ll have a damned smile on my face, a
glorious “fuck you” to what I thought I
could achieve.


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