On the day of my brother’s christening
there was a fire at the horse barn down the street.
In the box of photographs, among images of my
parents smiling in wide-rimmed glasses, holding
the mass of my brother shrouded in white, there is
a photograph of a horse, running
against a backdrop of flames.
I wasn’t there. But I can imagine it felt
like a bad omen, or at least ruined the atmosphere
of the party. Long floral dresses
smelling like smoke on the drive home.
Uneaten, personalized sheet cake.
It’s-a-boy-blue flowers perfectly intact.
But isn’t a baby a kind of calamity?
Isn’t life a fire no amount of holy water can extinguish?