Second Baptism

We are over the crying, 
no longer bewildered
by your state of affairs.
We barely blink now
as we rise with your toddler
each morning, bathe and dress him,
pack his lunchbox for preschool.

Our bodies remember the rhythm
it took to raise children, the tiredness
we could push ourselves to and still
be able to load the dishwasher
and fold what was in the dryer.

He seems none the worse
for our old style of parenting,
figuring out animal puzzles
at the kitchen table while we cook,
building with Legos on the dining room floor.

There is a sort of cleansing
in it all, that second baptism. Not of fire,
just a rising up each day, certain
of what we must do.

Mary Sexson is author of the award-winning book, 103 in the Light, Selected Poems 1996-2000 (Restoration Press), and co-author of Company of Women, New and Selected Poems (Chatter House Press). Her poetry has appeared in Tipton Poetry JournalLaureate, Hoosier LitFlying Island, New Verse NewsGrasslands Review, and Last Stanza Poetry Journal, among others.  She has recent work in Reflections on Little Eagle Creek, Anti-Heroin Chic, and Last Stanza Poetry Journal Issue #8.  Finishing Line Press will publish her manuscript, Her Addiction, An Empty Place at the Table, in 2023.   Sexson’s poetry is part of the INverse Poetry Archives for Hoosier Poets.

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