For Zach

For Zach

I came across your tiny
fleece mittens today
tucked back in a sock drawer
somehow, having gone unnoticed for this long

simple and fingerless
flat oval teal pods
I remember them well
such small hands
wriggling around, skin and fleece
together deciding who was softest

I thought of how old these mittens were
and how young you were
when you wore them
23 years old,
7 months young

I slipped two fingers in
to feel what your little hands felt
all those years ago
so cozy
so loved, you were
ours to dote on, our only little boy

we didn’t know then
of course
that you’d be gone
23 years later
we didn’t know then
that we wouldn’t ever slip
these same mittens
on your own son or daughter’s hand
one day

we didn’t know a lot of things, then
– anxiety, addiction, death
and never dreamed we’d only have you
for what feels like
just yesterday
putting mittens on your less than
1 year old hands.

we did know, in the end
the constant, the many things
of who you were
and who you always will be:

our amazing son
overflowing with such
genuine kindness,
a gentle,
radiant heart
and that now, you can fully
be that boy, be that man
unbound, in a world
I can only dream of,
a life in which I know you,
my beloved son,
are very much now