eyes kept open

Blue Eye by Gianna Goldfarb for Eyes Kept Open by Sophie Kessler

rainwater is heavier
than the ocean;
i was told that drowning for my faith
was not a matter of purity, only
but how
does this water wash away
the oily baptism of my mother?

i didn’t pull myself under the water fully on the first dunk, so i sit here now with a kippah-shaped ring on the crown of my curls.
it took the second emergence
to do it right,
to stop being called a liar,
to feel at home
between the patterned glass of my temple. for just a moment i was untouchable,
floating, eyes kept open to let the water embrace me.

my mother, her jewish mother, her christian father robbed me of the right to be taken seriously, at least at face value.
but mother nature was the first to accept me and the second to convince others
of the same.
mikvahs are heavier
than a normal jewish ritual.
but they’re lighter than death—
maybe a certain type of

the witnesses
start singing.

the resurrection kicks in.

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