The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


July 20, 1969

The baptism I do not remember

July 20, 1969:
I lie pink, smelling of powder, bundled.
My parents (they’ll divorce in 1978),
godparents (they’ll divorce in 1987),
and Pastor John stand around the font
(my mother and I will leave that church in 1979).

Pastor holds me, pours water over my fuzzy head.
The wetness tickles, annoys my newborn skin.
My infant self has no epiphany,
just a sudden urge to cry,
and an ache for Warm Womb.

My mother leans over me
(so young and slim!),
my father grins,
gangly and boyish.
Everyone smiles, some dab eyes.

Why? What is this?
My infant self does not know,
but no matter:

God still adopts me on that date,
while Three Dog Night makes millions howling,
“One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do.”

And far up in the heavens,
humanity walks on the moon,
one small step.

One giant leap.


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