By Justin Jannise
How his hands smelled vaguely of soot
as he held them over my face
pinching my nose
and plunging me into a blackness
I will forever call humility.
How humiliating it was,
to perform the ritual of salvation
with a man whose touch turned me
to water. No man since
has prayed for me like that.
Justin Jannise is the author of How to Be Better by Being Worse (BOA Editions 2021), which won the A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize. His poems have appeared in Best New Poets, Best of the Net, Copper Nickel, Yale Review, New Ohio Review, and elsewhere. Recently a recipient of the Inprint Verlaine Prize in Poetry and a former Editor-in-Chief of Gulf Coast, Justin is pursuing his Ph.D. in Creative Writing (Poetry) at the University of Houston.