De day me Grandma, dat is to say me Muddah’s muddah, died, I dance for six hours. I knew she was gon’ die dat day. We all did, me Muddah, me sister, me aunt and me Grandmuddah’s lover, Mr. Henry. But was me, de only one young enough and strong enough, dat had dance she spirit out she body wid me own two feet.
Grandma was on she way home, back to wherever she had come from, wherever we all come from, on dis very day. Was a Tuesday, and de rain fall de whole day. Sometimes it fall soft, like how Mr. Henry had keep he eyes weeping water, til I feel, between de water he throwing out he eye in a steady downpour and de scotch he throwing down he neck, he must be gon’ dry up like Grandma’s own life.
Other times de rain fall hard hard ‘pon de ground and ‘mind me of a hungry babe’s angry wail.
De whole time I dere in de yard, watching inside de bedroom through de open windows as me body moving ‘round and down and over and through. Me white shirt and black skirt, which me Grandma had sew for me just for dis day, plaster to me skin wid sweat and sky water. De ground come muddy and clumps of wet, brown dirt had fly up high as me knees. As I had swoop down to drum de ground in de slowing rhythm of Grandma’s heart de muck had adhere to me hands and I had feel de splatter on me eyelids, chin and upper lip. I could tell de difference between de rain and de tears and de sweat that expose theyself on me face.
Me sister come out de small pink and yellow cement house, telling me she can’t take no more of de raindrops pounding on de tin roof. She had circle me slowly, giving me pieces of mango and sips of water, glowing like a sun, creating she own light. Grandma had also make she a special dress, of a heavy golden satin. Me sister is special in a way different from me.
Later, me auntie had stand on de porch, watching. She head ducking in time to the song I ain’t singing. We both hearing it though, following de rhythm. It was me Auntie who do dis dance to de death, til she knees tell she stop. She teach me de way of it and dis was me first time dancing it alone.
When de sun had gon’ to sit behind de mountain Mr. Henry come join me. He take me two hands in his own and bring dem up to he face, holding me palms against he cheeks. We had move so, a slow revolve ‘round de entire house, just as he had spin a circle of love ‘round me Grandmuddah and all of we.
As de mosquitos start to find me, me Muddah had come outside. She raise me two arms high above we heads wid she own. She cries pierce de twilight and stars appear in de holes. She hot breath had blow hard in me face, battering me wid grief. I never see me Muddah suffer so and it had make me want to dance harder, faster, but I had slow meself. To be wid she where she be, to witness she pain in she own time and timing.
After a time was just me and de mud. Just me and de wet dirt. It had form and now it breaking apart. Me Grandmuddah leaving de earth. Taking me and pieces of all who had love she wid she. And too besides, me Grandmuddah coming into we, into me, up through me toes squishing in de mud, up past me knees, clinging to me skirt waist. I had stamp and stamp and hurl she outta dis world and into we very souls wid de heat of me hips, de flailing of me arms and de cry of me lungs.
I had do Grandma’s dance to de death in de mud and she had gone on, on de wings made by me own two feet.