Rain Dance

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Silver stars were painted on the windows

by the time we started dancing,

dripping their way down the glass

and pooling in the window frames.

Most stayed outside,

but some dared to join us,

squeezing through a crack in the roof

and plinking into the bucket

placed in the middle of the blanketed floor

for just that reason.

Our feet tripped over each other

to avoid the pail of liquid sky,

a clumsiness we ignored when we could

and laughed off when we couldn't.

More than once that night

when the dancing wore us out

and left us sucking breath

into the space between our red-flushed cheeks,

someone ended up in someone else's arms,

one hiding exhaustion

by plucking popcorn wet with butter

from the bowl nestled into the corner

to hide the cracks in the ceramic's blue-green glaze

while the other crunched the kernel

between tired, smiling teeth,

managing to ignore the straw

scratching red marks into any exposed skin.

We washed down our jealousy

with hot chocolate, knowing it would be okay

only when the bite of the mug's chipped edge

hurt more than the pain in our chests.

Near the end, when the bucket's bottom

was padded with more than an inch of fallen stars,

we flung ourselves between the stables,

too tired to dance properly,

and laughed loudly enough

to drown out the pattering on the roof,

and found another container of whipped cream

to hide the white froth topping our hot chocolate

that had melted when we turned our backs.

We didn't look out the windows much then,

afraid that what we saw outside

would squelch our laughter under a muddy boot,

but when we did, we always saw ourselves

reflected in the panes of glass,

dancing among the stars.

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