For Shane

15 Apr

I remember dancing in the rain
thinking that a redblack brown girl
in a mestizo neighborhood could swing
like Fred Astaire.
I’m sure they laughed from crowded windowsills
but I cared less, I was free under Lost Angels’
acid rain. I was eight then.

I remember craving rain at ten.
Mama played The Stones and a new
kinda blues was made,
‘neath rain, in the grooves of “Miss You,” in our
slow motion sways in the living room
of our El Sereno apartment.
I was ten then.

It went on like that for eight years.
And then the rain changed on me, shaking
my bones and rattling hidden insides. A
fear of living replaced Astaire and Jagger.
Showers couldn’t wash it all, something was
always left behind.
I was no longer new then.

Still, somehow, the water would come and
remind me of those gray mornings on Lowell.
I’d smile and try to keep my mind on the road
driving itself before me. Living was no longer fearful
but a familiar practice, caught amongst the
calls of duty, and
scary monsters under twin beds.

So today’s rain is particularly peculiar.
I’m not reminded of lemonade sales
for movie seats.
I’m not remembering mama lip-synching with
her British bloke.
I don’t even flinch at the lurching storms
of my early independence.

No, I’m reminded of you.
I hear you now, dancing
like clouds are your arena,
like thunder is your drum,
crafted by His hands
just for your scissor-like mocs
and flying bustles.

The lightning is your honor beat
bravado; sticks in the air as you
catch them on time.
The panting rain the atmos’
lulu to your aerobatics.
The brushing wind a swelling
whistle call for “one more!”

And of course the deafening tumbles
are necessary, how else will you
land with a big finish?
Hunh, no wonder you
test even the forces of nature,
bending them with a savvy grin
The choreographer’s always right.

What a pleasant find!
Thank you nephew, you summoned back the
theater of the rain. Now that little brother’s
gone to find you, you’ll never dance alone again.
Twin storm funnel clouds, coup sticks in tandem,
light up the purple Oklahoma sky.

© Asani Charles 8/7/08, 4/15/12


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