Baptism by Elizabeth Gibson




The water will be gentle on your hair, or maybe apple blossom

if the season is right, or a handful of paper snowflakes, bubbles

or just words, sung as a candle burns, scented with honey and pine.

Your name will be whispered, let go, to disperse like a dandelion

– you can reel it right back in and have it for the rest of your life, 

or pick out a new one like a perfect shell from the shoreline, 

or a piece of pink sea glass – you can keep picking and dropping, 

just tell me how to make you happy. I will bake an enormous cake 

with layers of frosting, white not for purity, but a page to start 

filling with scribbles of colour. I will cut the biggest piece for me.

We will take so many pictures, fill up a wooden treasure chest

to keep under your bed, decorated with crepe paper and feathers. 

You were born a being of utter cosmic wonder, and you will be 

no different after we have done this. But maybe I will be different.



Elizabeth Gibson is a Manchester poet, playwright and performer, inspired by queerness, body image, mental health, city life, nature and folklore. Her work has been accepted by 404 Ink, Atrium, Confingo, Lighthouse, Magma, Popshot, Queerlings, Under the Radar, and anthologies from The Poetry Business and The Poetry School. She was awarded a DYCP grant from Arts Council England in 2021 to further explore queerness through poetry and performance. She debuted her one-person spoken-word play, The Reason for Geese, at Turn On Fest at Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester, in 2022. She is on Twitter and Instagram as @Grizonne.

27 July 2022