M T C Cronin

The Laughing Pain

for Bibi & Boodgie

They say onions make you cry
But at our place it's bananas.
Dance too! They make us dance.
We were missing a 'when'
And still knew that we spent
All of last night dancing.
While we danced we sung
And tossed our arms in the air
As if we were flinging arrows.
Like little landing insects
Our neighbours watched us
Through the steaming windows.
We were laughing so much
And dancing like such demons
That they'd misted solid.
The children ran and screamed
'Banana Boat' 'Banana Boat'
Over and over as we split our sides.
Eventually we sailed right past
The curious faces outside,
Then past the house and street,
Then beyond even our pain.
(Because carrying on like that
had given us a terrible pain
that was like a force of nature.)
Eventually we had to concede
That the next thing wasn't funny
And we stopped. Just like that.
The kids didn't get it though
And peeled off a few more.
They put their faces in our faces
And kept on going strong.
'Banana Boop' 'Banana Boop'
Their tiny eyes watered as if to cry
Was something more generally.
Their tummies and cheeks ached.
We pointed our resolute fingers.
They slipped past all of us
Into something incredibly human.