dancing in the rain
by Liza Wolff-Francis

Florida fish joint, sound of waves,
forever-live-patio-music bursting beach songs,
bare feet in sand, the top of the ocean
fading at sunset, whiskey-barrel-beer.
Lina worked there then, with her carefully
curled hair, her embrace, her stories
about her son, her aching mother,
the way she danced serving food
table to table. That one night we were there
when it began to rain, we huddled,
storm-pounding, bartenders cheering
the falling water. Instead of waiting,
we decided to make our way back
to the hotel. People crouched under
the porch roof or the covered bar.
We moved into the storm like boats,
but soon became ocean absorbing
the bliss of rain, took down our umbrella,
stopped running, and let the water
move over our skin, through our hair,
ease into our open mouths, ears, eyes,
and even with all the people watching us,
we looked back at Lina dancing
and we looked at each other and began
to laugh at how our mistake became a glory
of being alive, a wonder of self as water,
as nature, as pieces of God and a movement
much larger than us with Earth and ocean,
and we jumped and splashed
like there was nothing else.

PHOTO: Dancing in the Rain (found image).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I wrote parts of this poem at the beginning of the pandemic when remembering places I loved, but couldn’t visit. It was a bittersweet remembering, but also brought me joy and hope to think of this time, the beach, the rain, the energy, the sounds, and people being together.

pic of me with lights

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Liza Wolff-Francis is a poet and writer with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Goddard College. She was co-director for the 2014 Austin International Poetry Festival. Her writing has been widely anthologized and her work has most recently appeared in Wild Roof Journal, SLAB, and eMerge magazine. She has written reviews of poetry books that have been published on Adroit, Compulsive Reader, and LitPub. Her chapbook Language of Crossing was published by Swimming with Elephant Publications in 2015. She lives in North Carolina. Visit her at writeyourbutterfly.com. In October 2022, Liza was appointed poet laureate of Carboro, North Carolina, a post she will assume in January 2023.