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By Christopher Bissett

You receive the Holy Ghost
so messy—
like a catastrophic glitter bomb
exploded in the chapel.

If Spirit’s like a rushing wind
then you’re tornadoed already.
You were Pentecost on Sundays.
You fell to the floor in convulsions.
You spoke in tongues. You exorcized
the teasing of your brothers.
You were Shaker. You were Quaker.
I had to carry you out
each time you bashed your holy head
on unholy hymnbook holders.

You writhed against the embodiment
of Church—
against too-tight shoes and scratchy tags
and prayers that last too long.
How could I squeeze yet another spirit
in this gangly, tooth-gapped giggler?
Your mother did it once, but now
it takes a team of men this time
to confirm your effervescence,
to gather all your glitter back inside.

We surround you in a circle
and I slowly say your name.
Breathe. Receive.
Breathe. Receive.
This is baptism by fire.
This is your lifetime of burning.



Christopher Bissett completed his BA in English at Brigham Young University, 2010 and his Bachelor of Nursing at University of Lethbridge, 2019. He has published poetry in various places including Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, BYU Studies, and Whetstone Magazine. He works as a registered nurse and case manager and lives in Raymond Alberta with his wife and five children.