At Seven Months

We pray that you be delivered into strong hands;
                   That as your senses swing open
You hear in the wind and waterfalls of this place
                   Familiar words;
That you be swaddled in fabrics of seven continents:
                   Continents of gold and snow, justice
And tigers and flight, intelligence, peace;
                   That the sweetness of your mother’s breast
Protect you from cynicism;
                  That you behold the grasshopper, toad, maple
                                     leaf
And red star; the glacier and dolphin and cotton field,
                 The beauty of skins and tufted bursts of white
As well as the beauty of what is not
                 Visible to the jellied eye; that you smell
Mint in the morning, cinnamon at dusk, and at night
                 The fragrance of human delight.
And we pray that these gates remain open
                 120 years, little one,
Of whom, till now, we know so little, not even
                 If it’s a hand or foot that impresses
Your mother’s veined belly.