If Rain

[audio link]

…and when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.
         —Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

for a second he trusted me
he let go of the coffee table
long enough to grab hold
his brand new hands around my index fingers
I sang our favorite song
I feel good     boodum boodum boodum boo
I knew that I would     boodum boodum boodum boo        
he stutter stepped to the left
he stutter stepped to the right
then bent his knees to bounce
his james brown diapered bottom up and down

he held on tight but always fell
I always helped him up
my love can’t do me no harm
and we felt good

he learned to let go longer
to walk     to run     to dance
to ride a bike     then motorcycle
(as it turns out not well enough)

outside the hospital
a willow sways in the wind
the wind that pushes the clouds
the clouds that make the rain
the rain that fills the blue green lake
where the willow dances
I think if rain were a tree
it would be a willow
and for a second
the earth drums underneath my feet

—Bruce Dethlefsen