She hovers at the edge

of the drum circle, 

brown eyes peek


through black ringlets.

Near her mother’s elbow

she watches


as her older brother

and toddler sister

pound tubanos

with abandon.


I offer her two mallets,

but she shies away.

Her mother urges,

but she whispers,

why won’t you try,



I shuffle soft djembe 

heartbeat under 

joyous chaos.


Mommy tests the harmony bars,

chimes out some vibe-like

bell peals.


Brown eyes widen

with surprise at

golden tones.


Her little fingers

wrestle the mallet

from Mommy’s grasp.


She strikes the “e,”

then looks at me, 

ovals her little mouth.


She takes two mallets

from my hand to beat

hard on the djembe.


I thought I couldn’t do it,

she tells me as she

leaves the circle.


But, when at first

it sounded good,

I was happy.