if I have an addiction to water, know that it’s hereditary | wisconsinacademy.org
Your shopping cart is empty.


if I have an addiction to water, know that it’s hereditary

i was baptized so many times, my family
must not have understood its action as rebirth.
instead: accumulation. each time we broke

a new surface, raining holiness from drenched
hair, we carried with us another layer—our hearts an orchard
of candied apples rather than something cleansed

and made new. now, everything is a baptism
i never asked for.
my face is born again

with micellar water each morning.
orzo noodles bob like so many submerged
heads in the boil of my saucepan. every carwash

feels like drowning, thrashing, waiting for a god
i don’t believe in to let me breathe.
what i didn’t know

then, back when my mother glazed
us with the blessing of each priest and pastor,
with the reborn waves of the gulf coast

and every drink she could swallow,
is that water is beautiful
because it erodes

and she was so desperate to feel saved.


Taylor Kirby's recent work appears in Salt Hill, Cream City Review, Booth, and as a Best American Essays 2021 Notable. She lives as close to Lake Mendota as she can and works as the program manager for Odyssey Beyond Bars at UW–Madison.


Contact Us

Follow Us

Wisconsin Academy Offices 
1922 University Avenue
Madison, Wisconsin 53726
Phone: 608.733.6633


James Watrous Gallery 
3rd Floor, Overture Center for the Arts
201 State Street
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: 608.733.6633 x25