My own child someday will be over there playing in the snow. Big trees overhead. Winter’s last light, I squint to see. Branches signal danger in my lungs, they hang over his head.
No, branches are arms, like my boy’s arms, he’s there in the yard, waving. Someday, behind this scrim of skin. What is it, I will ask, what do you need.
What else but this. Dust. I will give him grass like pencils in his hand, mud like bruises, a bird in his throat, snow like tears. He will grow a rock in his heart to match mine: weight burrows us into icy puddles, our circles of sky.
That one the blue shadows beseech in the backyard, he’s mine. I watch through the window, sky darkening. Don’t disappear before I have met you. I search for terrible clouds, and the tree limbs point and the crows signal a danger we should not ever be permitted to know. This scrim lit from the front, my invisible what-might-have-been boy, the house is silent, the snow untouched in the backyard. He is a snow angel by the bushes, waving on his back: No, I am here, over here, snowstorm coming, what else but this.
I can see him digging, shadow of trees in his hair. All the joy: blinding; all my sleep: fogging, gone, the day a winding sheet over any other day. What is it, I would ask, what do you need.