It is a ritual to bathe the daughter.

Baptized, she purifies dirty water,

rinsed over long hair that falls out between fingers.

Years ago, we handed her to a man over a vat

and believed him when he said she would not drown.


Face down, screams dull;

Reverberated from a dank vessel now lost

in the catacombs she sacrificed herself in.

This new life – it is of another world.

The kind where she does not crave the bitter cold.

A kind where she is welcomed into the body of her mother

instead of the ghost of a girl

whose father told her to sink or swim.


How holy is this veiled light

when she burns her lungs amongst it

just to find out she is finally alive.


And how heavenly is the father that cleanses and kills

in the same room.


When he washes his hands of blood under the halo of moon,

he turns his back to his children,

still beneath the water,

waiting to be absolved of their sins.


Sydney Greiner is an undergraduate at Susquehanna University studying English Literature and Publishing & Editing. She finds inspiration in the stories she hears, whether it be from a friend or a stranger. When she is not writing she enjoys watching Twin Peaks and spending time with her cat, Tokyo.


Sydney Greiner

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