Belated Baptism

by

Simon Hauwaerts

No one is here except for me and every
body I’ve ever been.
The wind blows through my hair
while the sand settles in the crevices
of my body all over again,
finding that the topography has changed.
I know what the wind and the sand are trying to say.
Yes, I reply.
Hello, I’m happy to be here,
now that my clothes finally fit.
It’s autumn and it’s cold.
My past selves are starting to leave,
climbing over the railing of the beach.
The wind carries their footsteps and
tucks them away,
adds them to its collection.
I’m the only one left
for now.
I take off my shirt and show the sea my scars.
It accepts them in the half second it takes
for one wave to follow another.
The water is just as cold around my hips as it was against my ankles,
mere seconds ago.
Its greeting cannot be mistaken
for anything that isn’t warm and hospitable.
I get it now,
why priests insist on the water and the prayer
even if we disagree about where God hides.
Not in the prayer
but here,
in the sweet, salty water.

Simon Hauwaerts is a young writer who was born and raised in Belgium. He now studies English Literature in the UK. Simon will read and write anything, but his preferred genres are horror, poetry, and nonfiction. He lives in Brighton. He can be found on Instagram at @orphicbinoculars.