Original Sin: A poem about a destructive doctrine

Photo by Louis Hansel @shotsoflouis on Unsplash

Baptize me in the waters of something
other than this.
Give me something more than this paper-thin
sense that I am, at heart, some cruel mistake –

some flat, un-yeasted roll or one of those
stiff, ossified Gildan t-shirts,
as long in the torso
as it is short in the sleeves.

Sprinkle me with the bone-deep truth that I
belong just as I am. Like pineapples over thin crust.
And if you tell me otherwise,
get behind me, Satan.

Dunk me deep into these dark waters
until I drown in a knowing of my own realness
without feeling like I needed the blood of some
curmudgeon-God to tell me that we all matter.

And here, I wish to say to you now, is a greater gift –
not that old lie that you are filth and need a wash,
but the cathartic truth that you, just as you are,
were clean from the first start.

  • Scott B. Heaton teaches English in Fort Worth at a community college. If he isn't grading papers in a coffee shop or hanging out with is wife and two kids, he's scribbling prose or poetry in a old composition notebook.

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