That little boy at soccer:
I stare so much his mother pulls him closer to her side.
His hair is on fire. The wind stirs the flames,
and I am blinded by ashes I try to blink away.
It looks like smog in a sunset
before the final light of day fades to dark.
Your smile suggested petals in spring,
lips new as a rose in bloom.
They looked like gummy worms:
stretched and lined with dry skin.
Worm lips don’t sound like much,
but sometimes they’re all I have.
Your skin was soft and white, at times translucent.
You were my burning Irish boy.
The day I took you fishing, your legs
stuck out from under your overalls,
turned red in less than an hour.
Had you grown older, freckles would have covered your nose.
The blue of your bright eyes stunned me
until I probed and found only gray.
The box lowered was enormously small,
stark against glittering rocks
almost as pale as the morning I found you,
swamp cooler humming and hiding my cries
made faint by cinder block walls.
This soccer-child climbs onto my lap.
I hold my arms loose around his slender boy-waist,
too afraid to hug any tighter. His hair tickles my nose,
wafts Cherry Blast scent, and I struggle against this smell,
so clean and alive.