I. THE BAPTISM
She finds you in a prison cell, a broken mess of a boy, an attempted martyr.
when they take you home She is the one to offer you a bath, to draw the water sprinkled through with lavender, with honeysuckle. you need it, She says. you look a mess, She says.
i am one, you say, and She laughs.
a bath, then, for sure.
when She touches you, soft pink skin against the dirt blood sweat grime caked into your cheeks, it seems it ought to burn.
II. THE CONFIRMATION
She tells you She knows a thing or two about scars. She tells you She’s seen the rope burn etched into your wrists, the autopsy carved into your chest. She tells you She knows what it is to be trapped and what it is to escape.
you tell Her you don’t think you’ve escaped. She tells you She doesn’t think She has, either.
when She shows you Her own set of rope–smooth golden-white cords, polished clean, wrapped tight and unyielding at the edges–She stands away and lets you hold them without Her guidance.
if you want, She tells you. when you’re ready.
you know you would fall to your knees for Her then and there, but you aren’t yet sure you know why.
III. THE COMMUNION
did you know that christ means anointed one? did you know that to anoint is to bless, to cleanse, to slick with oil until the dirt runs off, until the body shines like so much silver. did you know that mary washed his feet with her hair and a bowl of oil, before they strung him up? did you know that when She combs Her fingers through your hair and draws your mouth towards Her body you can understand the sacredness of an act like that? did you know Her hair was black once, too?
IV. THE TITHE
you think anna probably took more than a tenth of you, but god, She owns the rest, doesn’t she? the blood, the marrow, the bone, the flesh–it yields, all of it, under Her palms.
please, you tell Her, take it. whatever you want of me.
She tells you, it isn’t for me to take. She tells you, you have to be the one to give it.
you don’t remember how to willingly give, after all these years of things ripped from your hands. you tell Her as much. She lays Her hands on you.
let me in, She says. let me in. cast her out. let me in.
you close your eyes and if you are legion She is not the exorcism but the lake.
V. THE RESURRECTION
you know why they killed him, when you look at Her.
a miracle. a prophet. daughter of something on high. salvation, outstretched palms, water to wine and back again.
something like Her is dangerous because it believes in something like you.
something like you is dangerous because She loves you too much to see it.
you know that She sees you as the mourner. the disciple. the covenant. the lamb.
you wonder sometimes if you’re something else.
if you’re the thorns in Her scalp. the nails in Her feet.