The Ten-Ton Blessing

by Steve Scafidi

My new baby coos in sleep and startles
          suddenly throwing her arms out as I drag
this pencil across the page and she is
                    like some tropical spider just fallen

from the canopy overhead where the stars
          have all disappeared completely from
the night and the sun might swoop and dive
                    in a crazy-eight shape for how rarely

I look up from her body that is perfect
         in its sleep and in its waking which is
a difference of one gauzy inch
                    as her eyes flutter open and look at me

mildly amused and so this is that turning of
         the page, that absolute surprise of days I am
lucky enough to recognize and nothing else
                    before is real anymore and here comes

the hippopotamus of my new life gingerly
         taking the stairs to the front door breathing
fog on the glass and staring in at me
                    now with its tender yellow eyes

and here comes the magnificent silence
         of knowing everything is different now
and here comes the gold arbitrary blooms
                     of daffodils in the yard and soon

the undertaker comes and the Periodic Table
         of the grave and here is the fragile
idea of love I can hardly think of
                      without getting up and watching

my new baby sleep in the disordered
         world that does not want us here
passing whatever comes our way
                    and so the muddy hippopotamus

who disagrees breaks down the door
         I hung on words and hope’s most
delicate breeze blows and anything is possible.
                    It seems it always was.

Steve Scafidi earned his MFA at Arizona State University and is the author of Sparks from a Nine-Pound Hammer (Louisiana State University Press, 2001). He is a cabinetmaker and lives in Summit Point, West Virginia.