John Warner Smith

Rain Dance

In all your years, you never knew
that long before your words
named me,
I tossed my tiara
and shimmering bodice
to dance the songs
you had yet to sing.

When you first saw me,
I was a young girl
streaking half-naked
across your back yard
just before the bus horn blew,
quick as lightning flashed.
Now, in your dying,
you still wonder
if you were dreaming then.
Was she
there?  Was she
rain bathing or fleeing
some man’s hands?

You called me mama, wife,
your secret lover
who gathered hay, milked the herd
and made a bed where you laid
your hollow self down.
I strung beads,
weaved my round skirt
and spun you
the way drunkenness forgets.