On the Occasion of My Mother's Fifth Baptism | Literary Arts | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

On the Occasion of My Mother's Fifth Baptism

My mother's been baptized again.  She just can't fight the urge to purify 

herself though in seventy-seven years she has already been baptized four 

times: there was her first Catholic baptism as just a babe then later at ten 

in the Lutheran church still later she was born again and baptized by the batshit 

crazies at the Assembly of God where she gave her testimony to a packed house 

never mentioning that she had been abused as a girl because she never says that 

(that: he peeked under the covers when they were left at home alone with him).  

Ten years ago she was water-baptized in the Jordan River, yes she went all the way 

to Israel just to get herself baptized again.  She rode a camel too, but still desire 

persists and recently she took herself to a nearby Episcopalian church where 

she was dedicated once again vowing to reject Satan and all his works because 

apparently the Jordan River is just not what it used to be, the way it runs itself 

down into the mythical Galilee before entering the Dead Sea where it rests in pools 

but finds no outlet.

-- Tess Barry


Tess Barry has an MA in literature from the University of Pittsburgh. Her work has appeared most recently in Natural Language: Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Sunday Poetry and Reading Series Anthology and Carlow University Press's Voices from the Attic: Volume XVI. She lives in Pittsburgh's South Side. Many writers featured in Chapter & Verse are guests of Prosody, produced by Jan Beatty and Ellen Wadey. Prosody airs every Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. on WYEP 91.3 FM.

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