Today's poem is by Robert Bense

Pentecostals at the River Baptizing

Sough of smooth river silt, foot in
clayey toehold. Soft warm chill
sucks gowned grown catechumens
down, arms of three deacons
outstretched, secure under
tow of the Paraclete salvaging
a vast unseen
                      as in Florence
Massacio's naked neophyte
limb supple, loins behind
barest veil, submits, born again
in rivulets Peter empties from
Santa Maria del Carmine's languid
           the preacher, deep
to his waist, palms flattened to save
slip beneath a young man, water
swiping America's slate
clean past Rockwood, flotsam
smelling of catfish, surplus
and rot
            white shift
shrink-wrap tight, clinging
to the pure cyma curve
of torso's twist that excited
Signorelli beyond dirk and doublet
to grasp quattrocento
        If seamless soul has body
aching edged, full bodied like this
klismos curve of sculpted shoulder
and ass, I have witnessed the Spirit
submit to skin, take on flesh's scrubbed
sigmas of sense seen again
in this morning's renaissance.

Copyright © 2006 Robert Bense All rights reserved
from Chelsea
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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