Poem: I used to run through puddles

Someone taught me my soggy sock was too soft-squishy,

            that I’d catch cold from mud-knuckled fists

                        and asphalt scrapes, that I should comb and dry my hair

            to keep it soft for someone else’s fingers.

Someone told me there are no fish in Indiana,

            that I couldn’t build a frog-pond because the thirsty earth

                        would drink my work up swallow by swallow

            until the sunshine made mud dust.

I found seashells in my backyard

            where the only salt was snail-sprinkled

                        and snow-speckled, where the ocean whispered

            miles and millennia away like a hermit on a mountaintop

with only wind for company.

Hidden up a tree behind choke cherry blossoms

            I waited as the leaves turned inside out

                        before the sky crashed down in waves

            and all the birds went quiet, quiet in the call

of mother thunder.

They found me with toes curled into the earth

            and eyelashes caked with rainsong,

                        breathing the stones’ perfume in deep

and exhaling lightning.