I am not a religious person, but this was a deeply moving event. Here is how it happened.
Such a simple thing, to lift a child.
Hands grasp her sides, a second pair of ribs
Beneath plump arms, and swing her high:
Inconsequential weight on angel's wings.
Farther down the beach a gathering:
Mexican Pentecostal Church of God
All clad in white and black, their Sunday best,
With angel voices raised in Spanish hymns.
That little girl, no taller than my knee
Has not yet mastered walking on dry land.
In childish guile she flees her family's eyes
Makes her way to water's edge, and in.
Senor Juan Baptiste strides chest-deep
Into the lake. The others, arms raised high,
Invoke God's power as he grasps behind the neck,
Supports each penitent beneath the waves.
When no one else was looking at this girl
I saw her falter, fall, then float face down.
Two splashing steps, hands on her ribs,
I raise her out and draw her to my chest.
We could have driven past this lake today,
Or lazed another minute on the shore,
Or turned our wading walk the other way,
Instead, I found myself above this child.
Juan Baptiste mouths a Spanish prayer,
Lifts his new-found brother from the lake,
As I lift and hold this child close to me,
Saved, as by the very hand of God.