Michael Kocinski is a writer form Toledo, OH, relocated to Ida, MI, where he lives on a farm with his favorite people: his wife, two sons, and his step-daughter. If he's not staring blankly at an empty notebook, he's playing Pokemon with his son Henry, or he's making pizzas at a small restaurant he co-owns with two longtime friends.

Previously in Glass: A Journal of Poetry: In the Still of the Night

Michael Kocinski

Sacrament of Baptism

for Henry Maple leaves whisper Henry's name on our way through the small wilderness behind the house where I grew up. Asleep, he ignores their salutations. Aflame with his mother's milk, bundled in his winter coat, his cheeks glow red as bunch berries still clinging to naked branches in the brush. I've brought him out in November cold to show him a hole filled with leaves: the pond where I played as a boy, where I crouched a thousand times, listened to spring peepers, collected water in mason jars swimming with tadpoles, where I fell in once, my whole body covered with duckweed, alive, fertile, pungent as the afterbirth at Henry's arrival. Today there are no frogs singing, there's no water, no mud sucking my feet. Just my son, so small the wind touches him everywhere at once; my son curled like a hibernating animal in the folds of my coat. He fills my life with so much heat, he's replaced the pond with fire and it's vulnerable, nearing dark on the verge of red maple leaves and emptiness dropping off before us, where he won't be baptized or find his wild siblings and foster mother. Behind us, in the yellow kitchen window, his mother waits for our future to come back to her fluid arms, where like a bright fish he'll find solace, warmth and food, cover between the smoothest stones, and where I'll find all the water I'll ever need, right there in her lips, and blue eyes.

"Sacrament of Baptism" brings together all the things that Michael loves the most. The untamed overgrowth, the pond, and the wildlife of his childhood backyard. The memories both good and bad that he wants to share with his beautiful son. I can visualize a little Mike investigating, playing and wandering the property, all dirty and scraped, and cold, then returning to the comfort of home. Memories that he would like to share with his boy. These words made me nostalgic for that backyard and sad that Mike's boys cannot enjoy those same memories. However, I imagine that his children will have beautiful new precious memories and a warm and loving home to come back to. — Cindy Fish

Glass: A Journal of Poetry is published monthly by Glass Poetry Press.
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