Poems & Essays

21 Dec

Advent: You

General/Column No Response

When I bought it, the brown album
big as you,
                        (but not quite so heavy),
We hadn’t yet cut your spongy curls,
had only offered our perpetual adoration. 

I slipped pictures into the sleeves:

            meeting you, my white skin
            glaring in the dim nursery light,

courtyard trikes—faded and dinged—
your brother riding them,

diapers hung to dry, even in the kitchen,

savannah lining the road to Shashamene,

Mesiret giving you two fingers to hold onto
in a living room filled with traditional
weavings, telling us about your first mom.

Tonight you pick my purple chair,
a premier location for paging
through A Charlie Brown
Christmasblinking when you
press buttons and a carol spills
from two tiny book-speakers.

When the herald angels finish,
you pick up the long-closed album.

Seraphim stop breathing.
I can’t muster stop
                        (there are no Cherubim,
flaming swords turning
                         every way)                                                                       

The captions, only half finished,
slide out. My own hand against me: 

Meeting you!

Brother play time!

Laundry Day!

Pretty savannah!

Mesiret happy to see you!

The heft of that album,
pages, captions, all the brown
certainty of a giant book,
your capitalized initials
embossed on the cover— 

It’s too big for you, honey. It’s too big.

No it’s not, Momma. You smile.
I can carry it myself, Momma. See?

You open it on your lap
                        (my chair taking
                         some of its weight),
put accidental pressure on
Charlie Brown release again
tinny praises of the newborn king.


Alina Borger writes and teaches in Iowa City, IA. Her work has recently appeared in Stirring, The Mom Egg Review, The Pittsburgh Poetry Review, and Rogue Agent, among others. “Advent You” is also featured in her chapbook, Tuesday’s Children, from Hermeneutic Chaos Press. Visit www.alinaborger.com or @AliBG.

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Lord & Taylor December 21, 2015 The Ultrasound December 21, 2015