I put it on, and the floppy hat, too.
The arms hang way past my hands.
We each claim our place at the railing—
Mom, clinging tight to squirrely little Kurt,
Karla, calm and watchful, and Dad,
stowing his science fiction in a dry pocket.
Kitty is safe at home, fed by a neighbor.
The sturdy tub begins to rock,
drawing nearer and nearer.
The approaching roar
is like the vast silence
and heavy dark
a mile under the earth
in Carlsbad Caverns. It was wet there,
too, but here, the whole world
is made of water and the water
is singing, is pouring its stinging
notes, needles made of mist,
each one a tempting siren
calling me closer to the dark adventure
the song of my life.
I dream I am speaking to the mother
of a dark-haired girl.
The girl, seven or eight years old, is crying.
She doesn’t believe it.
How can practicing the flow
of her handwriting compete
or help with her dancing.
Distraught, her tutu shakes,
there in the barn, where we gather.
Oh, yes, I say. It’s true.
Scientific research. Amazing—
when the littlest finger moves,
muscles fire in the legs, too,
run neural music up and down
the whole body, like wild fire.
My words quiver in her ear, tickle
those tiny internal cilia.
Her smile breaks like a tsunami.
She reaches up for a large sheet
of foolscap, dips the steel
nib into the inkwell.
I, who could never dance,
clap as the flowing blue swoops
and curls across the page
like a dancer on a spotlit stage
reinventing each timeworn move anew.
I tap my foot, my silk-and-steel toeshoe.