Sign for Rainbow

Our sign language class 
gathers with pizzas and salads 
around a Me & Ed’s table. 
We are six women, eighteen to eighty. 
Retired teachers, home caregiver, 
police officer, dog-sitter, accounting clerk, 
we practice signs for weather: 
clouds, wind, thunder, lightning. 
We watch our teacher sign rain: 
hands raised, palms down, 
all fingers spread, 
then let hands fall 
like sheets of rain 
flooding chaos into our lives, 
into stories we share 
between lessons. 
We tell of botched surgeries, 
car accidents, autistic children, 
adopting drug-addicted babies. 
Sometimes we forget to take bites, 
our eyes widened 
toward each new friend, 
learning how we survived, 
how we now thrive, 
why we can sign 
with one forearm 
rising in a half arch, 

--Jennifer F., Adult