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Perfect for You

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

by Janice Roper, 11/23/99

reprinted with permission

Perfect for You

Four, the long fingers of the hand, the long
Bending, reaching, sometimes grasping, sometimes
Slipping away. A sweaty hand, my hand, the one that held my own face
when I heard the news of your death.
I couldn't tell if the darkness was from my hands,
shielding the florescent light that burned the words off
of all those papers on my desk,
now plain white sheets,
hospital sheets
and white noise like a moan, like the tearing of the heart or
was it the darkness
of blood without oxygen?

My hands were there, I think,
covering my eyes and mouth, holding it in, holding me together
while the homicide detectives spoke in a monotone,
what little facts there were, words
carving this endless bleeding wound, words
taking away my son.

My fingers were there, and my eyes
crying into them. My heart was there
dripping onto the floor, splattering the walls with a mother's loss.
Darkness was there.
I was there.
In pieces.

Four years later you sit on my desk. The same.
A small baby, soft and pink. And those little boys,
four years old, I see but cannot hold.
They run fast and gleam and chatter.
They play with trucks and balls and yell to each other.
You are there. Growing up in the air around them.

At the store I check the size of clothes
I should be buying for you. Four-T, maybe five.
Airplanes and baseballs. Cotton and blue. Alive, energized.
My fingers skip the hangers,
Then draw out an outfit, perfect for you.
Thin for wanting you. Empty in plaid.
Hanging and waiting
For a little boy to hold
And make it whole.

Janice Roper

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