Jacob Strautmann

Wheeling Baptism

 

Down on an island tear-shaped as Christ's sandal
fording the river the flood-stage crests,
would wash the sinners under were it not
for the buckle of I-70 clasping Bridgeport.

Front Street's empty storefronts, white,
shin-deep in a cataclysm of their place,
sway to furtive preachers, lurch at whatever
wisps below—tins of negatives, paddlefish ribs,

the long dark train maneuvering Spring
thaw through cores of cinder blocks,
squares of light clogged with sediment
they roll away in morning like a son.