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Joy Dance - I CELEBRATE YOUR JOY.

This poem was written by Krista's good friend Jeremy in Santa Cruz, Bolivia for Krista Hunt Ausland on the night of Krista's death.

I celebrate your joy. The night I met you we saw gauchos stomp black boots, wave white sombreros, twirl rings of fire. Laughter danced in your eyes and your face flickered in the half-dark as we tried to talk above charangos, quenas, and drums.

Already in the throaty throb of that music I knew your joy. I learned more about the dance of your life when you begged Aaron to learn folk-steps on the cancha after cards.

Later in the green elegance of a quince party. Aaron escorted you to the turf to dance. A love-dance. Lively from love, drinking juicy band music, You asked me to join in a joy-dance.

You held both my hands and I shuffled on the lawn, feet heavy as stones. Now in darkness the weight of marble my stomach churns from too many tears and I hear only my heartbeat; a tricky rhythm, like Aaron's drumming on talent night.

The table is cool to my face warm from weeping. Against the heavy harmony of silence I sing to prolong music quiet too soon: your dance, the dance of your life. How to hear these fragments of song, these jagged melodies? They barb us, gouge us, gore us. They chill us, these dances frozen in the heart of sway. If I cannot prolong your dance, I will proclaim it. I will proclaim your dance to God and to the world. I will celebrate a dance of flavors: tomatoes, oregano, basil when you cooked pasta with me in the kitchen. I will remember how you made me laugh, how laughter swam in your voice. I won't forget the way you giggled and tugged at Aaron's questions across the supper table, both wishing for a cup of Starbuck's coffee. Paging through my journal and listening to the night, I hear hens in recitative. Dogs whimper. leaves flap, or angel-wings. Treetops bend and sway, like my spirit this night: bowing yet dancing. And in the breeze that lures these trees to praise I almost hear you singing hallelujah.

Jeremy Funk served as a Mennonite Central Committee Volunteer in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, and befriended Aaron and Krista when they arrived for training in the city. Living with physical disabilities, including cerebral palsy, he enjoyed his first dance with Krista at a quincenera for the daughter of a Bolivian staff member. Jeremy is a graduate of Wheaton College (Illinois), Northern Illinois University, and Princeton Theological Seminary. A talented writer and strong thinker, Jeremy currently works as a copy editor at Wipf and Stock Publishers in Eugene, Oregon.

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