This poem by Durham writer Carol Lautier was read at a commemorative event for the anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

(Wade in the water, Wade in the water children, Wade in the water, God’s gonna trouble the water … )

In all our glory come we now to the river

We come


all down to the river to be baptized by our own hands

Turning from dangers seen and unseen

We make baskets of our arms,

Carry the preacher woman weak with palsy

Who roars when Spirit descends

As she prays we tell our troubles to the wind

Send up Judah! Praises! Then hum low–joyfully–like seraphim

We sing Hosanna!

Dancing round about each other

Arms entwined, legs steppin’ high, our long skirts flapping

Heralding the redemption to come

We run down the bank of the river

We run singing to the great giver of life

Washing our brown bodies,

Anointing each other

To be warrior and wife of every sacred thing on earth

Protectors of joy and peace,

teachers of unrehearsed acts of kindness

As that lame preacher woman steadies herself in the circle of us

We plant our feet on the river bottom

Fill our fingers with the black cotton of each other’s hair

Staring into the dark waters of our sister’s eyes

We dip once, twice, three times we rise up clapping our hands and shouting

Till that same preacher woman comes strutting

Out from the river

Dancing with one hand on her hip

She reminds us

Of our glory,

Of how we survived burial in a ship’s belly

And generations of oppression

To stand and tell our story today

We say amen and celebrate with

Confessions of our pain and our power

We press our hands to each other’s cheeks

We speak healing

as words of blessing flow out from the river

As we go boldly out from the river

We say, “Sister, remember your glory!”

I say, “Sister! Remember your glory!”

Copyright Carol Lautier 2002