A Woman Ruins Her Brother’s Christmas with His New Baby: A Poem by Candice Kelsey

Christmas lights, ornaments, and advent candles
Photo by Mario Losereit on Unsplash

A Woman Ruins Her Brother’s Christmas with His New Baby

She asked when she could come to the hospital to see her new niece / let’s wait / he told her // The season of Advent had begun / to wrap a wreath / like a swaddling blanket / or womb / around the world // A week later she asked when she could bring her kids to meet their new cousin / let’s wait another week / he demurred // On Sunday the pastor lit the first candle / symbolizing the hope God’s people place in baby Jesus / & she remembered a favorite Robert Louis Stevenson poem / about a man heading to sea on Christmas morning— we cleared the weary headland, and passed below the light // A week later she asked if it were time to meet the baby / not yet / we’re nervous about flu season / he said // That Sunday the pastor lit the second candle / symbolizing the peace we will find / in the face of baby Jesus / so she read more of Stevenson’s ship— her nose again pointing handsome out to sea // On the third week she texted another request to visit / maybe next week / was the reply // Her pastor lit the third candle / for love / & she wept over its sixth stanza— the house above the coastguards was the house where I was born //

She asked again to see her niece / yes, come over on Christmas Eve for a bit / her brother granted // She left church before the lighting of the fourth candle / Joy / to find a gift for the baby / & forgot about the 19th Century sailor— in the darkness and the cold // But Instagram pictures of her newborn niece on Santa’s lap / & passed from lap to lap at holiday parties / left this woman confused // She wrote a sentence or two in her blog / comparing the wait to see her niece to the season of Advent / how so much of life is waiting / & often we are on the outgoing ship when we would rather be home // Three years later her brother texts / You ruined my first Christmas with the baby / with your blog // So she wrote a poem.

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