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You would be five

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

by Janice Roper, 10/31/00

reprinted with permission

You would be five

You would be five, if you were alive, each day
more cells divide, a little taller, a little older,
but the ground wraps you colder, maybe
only your bones are left, maybe just that white sleeper and cap
we dressed you in for presentation to friends and family
you'd never met. . . and there you were,
dead, stiff, but still beautiful, a baby
bathed in a thousand tears.

Three month old bones and five year old imagination,
jumps off the monkey bars, yells in a pirate suit -
"let's go Mom! We're missing Halloween!"

Another turn of the sun. Another spinning dance with you
as close as the stars, as bright as the moon, my baby boy,
my pain is as dark as the universe around you - you are the lights
everywhere I look, winking at me.

You are as un-touchable, as cold as the night sky.
And yet you penetrate me completely
and burn me with the heat of a mother's imagination
of a five year old boy, running ahead into the night,
knocking on doors, sticky fingers and candy lips
dreaming again while I hold you to my heart,
while you softly explode into the night.

10/31/00

Janice Roper

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