her right arm jerked to a grotesque angle,
fingers splayed and froze.
She dragged her twisted right leg,
foot curled inward, as she limped
across the floor.
From its crib, the child reached out perfect arms,
kicked its bare feet against the bars,
insistent like a ragged shutter
on a windy night.
With her left hand, she squeezed rigid
fingers into a fist, bent her shoulders
and gently scooped the child with her forearms.
Gurgling, the child nuzzled against her neck.
She crooned a lullaby of lemon trees
and goat bells tinkling,
the music of laughter
of shoes dancing, hands clapping
to the beat of the tarantella.
In this way Rosalita taught the child
how to make its body sing.
First published in Out of Line, 2003 and the author’s book, Down to the Quick (Plain View Press, 2007)