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When she heard the child cry out,

her right arm jerked to a grotesque angle,

fingers splayed and froze.

She dragged her twisted right leg,

foot curled inward, as she limped

across the floor.

From its crib, the child reached out perfect arms,

kicked its bare feet against the bars,

insistent like a ragged shutter

on a windy night.

With her left hand, she squeezed rigid

fingers into a fist, bent her shoulders

and gently scooped the child with her forearms.

Gurgling, the child nuzzled against her neck.

She crooned a lullaby of lemon trees

and goat bells tinkling,

the music of laughter,

of shoes dancing, hand clapping

to the beat of the tarantella.

In this way Rosalita taught the child

how to make its body sing.


Nancy Scott is the author of 14 volumes of fiction and poetry. She had been managing editor of U.S. 1 Worksheets for more than 16 years. As a caseworker for the State of New Jersey for 18 years she assisted many disabled people to find housing in the community. She now is disabled herself. More information at

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