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Polishing the Memories

for Daniel C. Roper, IV,
September 9, 1995 - December 4, 1995

by Janice Roper, 2/2/97

reprinted with permission

Polishing the Memories

My precious boy, calming staring
at something beyond the edges
of the picture frame.
You are a whisper of beauty
You are a song of perfection

I remember looking into your sky-clear eyes
I remember stroking cream into your buttery thighs
The smell of your neck, the warmth of your cheek
the thrill of your wiggly smile, an indelible connection.

Danny, you seem so wise in your little suit,
front and center in our family portrait
so important, tell your mommy
did you have to go? was there something
else I could have done
to keep you alive, to see you grow
from a baby to a boy
to a man? my son . . .

I have lost you, each moment of you,
all of the friends you would have brought home
all of the stories you would have told
family vacations, teenage problems,
your girlfriends, your wife, your children
my grandchildren . . .

All I have are a few pictures
a simple baby, trusting, needy
for something I could not give
or maybe didnít know how.

So I gather up these tender memories
I polish them each day
into brilliant diamonds, like stars that tickle
the blackness of night
so blindingly beautiful,
too perfect to be alive
too painful to be anything else.

I look to the edge
following your eyes
following you.

Janice Roper
2/2/97

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