in the mirror. His leggings, pajama bottoms, are just the right
shade of blue. Size 4 red underpants worn over his middle–also a
surprisingly good approximation. Perched on the shoulders of his
matching top is a red flannel cape, the gold S cut and glued,
the lumps puckered and still visible. On his feet, ankle-high
quilted red booties, outgrown by a friend or cousin.
Pleased, he descends the stairs on his bottom, then leaves the house
for what neither of us knows will be his last venture as Superman.
No one will tease him. Nothing bad happens on this last flight–
except that while outside, he grows up one increment, the very
increment that causes a boy to ask do I look silly? And there is no
answer, no turn of phrase, not a demurral in the world that will
stop a boy from retiring a red cape.