For Rose Butler
and John Running
Navajo culture, the child is viewed as the ultimate gift
and a celebration is held in its honor when the baby first laughs.
She cradles her child, this Navajo mother,
and you can tell he is loved. His peacefulness
runs deep--you can see the tendrils of it
as they wind around his bones. Listen.
The sound of his sleeping is like the whispering
of the sea under a soft moon in summer.
She cradles her child and keeps him safe--
see how her arms, her hands, embrace him.
This is a rest that augurs beautiful growing,
the way a seed's slumber in the earth
shadows forth the tree.
For she will blanket him with prayers and kisses,
with hummed melodies and the music
of her voice. And she will be the midday sun
to him. Come, let us wait for his first laugh.