The loss of a child
is the death of a promise,
but also a still-life painting
of what could have been,
in surreal shades of yellow and red.
Children have the unfashionable ambition
of becoming firemen and policewomen,
maybe even the next US president.
Out of the bare minimum of props,
they construct their identity as angels of mercy.
This is why most police officers, in unguarded moments,
have the faces of sleeping children.
They are already in the valley of the dead,
playing hopscotch and hide-and-seek,
and plundering Death’s delicious kitchen.