Indiana University Bloomington

A Christmas Oven

By Jamie Kendrick

“Hello! Hello!”
The angels came even when I
they wouldn’t.
They brought me apple cake,
mulberry muffins.
“Please eat.”
When they lifted my arms
my stomach and teeth
didn’t shake; I had to
tell you: You don’t
“Let go.”
Rising from the mattress;
watching the sweat
sticky sheets peel
away. I promise you
it feels like
a Christmas oven. 

Reflections on “A Christmas Oven”

I started writing ‘A Christmas Oven’ during a time when I was very physically ill. I was turning to any concept or idea I could grasp on that affirmed I would be taken care of in my time of need. Oddly enough, I wouldn’t say I turned towards Christianity specifically, though the references and allusions in this poem say otherwise. Instead, I tried to remember the last time I felt warm, full and healthy both on a physical and emotional level. I thought of foods, music, and hobbies that gave me this feeling and I narrowed it down to one event: baking desserts on Christmas Eve. This holiday was so devoted to giving, eating, loving, and “heavenly peace.” It was in stark contrast to my current state: frail, empty handed and cold. The poem itself is a message to “the present me” from “afterlife me,” with the latter describing how it felt to be free of earthly ties in a way we could both understand. The religious prism in which you view afterlife can make one either fear or embrace death, and this poem talks about what embracing death is like from the religious prism I view it with. Afterlife is like an eternal Christmas Eve.

Jamie Kendrick is a senior studying sociology and creative writing.

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