New Name and Blessing


First Place All-Church Poetry Contest
She holds her breath in sitting under cold water,
fearing to breathe, especially breathe what looks
so settled in-doors, as if in captivity brooks
gravely subside, that on rocks would spill her to laughter.
She sits, by her grampa supported, who laves her a Latter-
day Saint in a green-tiled font (awash among bricks),
and rises into the prayer that has lingered to fix
her name in new birth: Meadow, now Jesus’s daughter.
Confirming her choice of new father, her father’s breath
calls for the burning of spirit to light and to dry her,
warming the assembly of saints, as her baptism thrilled
him, and a few family friends, witnessing death—
on her he calls a blessing down the stilled
attention held like tinder for the fire.

[photo] Sculpture by Dennis Smith, photography by Eldon Linschoten