A Poem for Oliver

Rocking next to the Christmas
tree, the child in my arms sleeps.
Colored lights slide over his face, our peace
as reverent as if we knelt in church.

Let his breath come even and soft, let him
fidget, held beyond waking and dreams.
Let his brightness never fade, let him be wild
as the stars slung across the sky.

Let him reap the fruits of love. In his tiny hand
sugar cookies leave a sticky sweet.
I think carefully on this world he has
entered. The TV tells me all

I need to know of grief: shattered homes
from last month’s storm, gunshots ring
out in bloodied streets, foreclosure notices point at
where a family once lived, moved on to some other sorrow.

But snuggled safe, this child knows
neither hunger nor fear. The worst that has
happened is a tumble and a pinched thumb, a brother
leaving him behind a shut door.

I intend to keep it that way but we can’t keep him
from life. His heart will be broken—he will lose
and be lost, cry with rage and pity. But with
his brightness around him I pray it is not too soon,
nor lasts any longer than he can bear.

© 2018, Wendy Brown-Baez

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