New Name and Blessing

By Dennis Marden Clark

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    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.

    Sculpture by Dennis Smith, photography by Eldon Linschoten