The First And Last Time I Saw My Mother Dance

Her dance was a prayer for me

Daniel Williams
Published in
9 min readJun 1, 2024


by author

Thirty-nine years ago, a giant pile of firewood fell and crushed me. There’s an awesome scar on my head to prove it. It looks like I got bit by George Washington.

There’s a weird memory to prove it too.

Though I was buried, I could still see the upper world. The firewood had fallen in a gracious way, giving one of my eyes a crazy, little tunnel so I could see daylight. And in the daylight, out on the green lawn, I saw something I’d never seen before:

My mother…


Dancing on the lawn.

I can explain, but first, let me explain how I ended up under a winter’s worth of firewood.

I went to the woodpile that day to climb.

Imagine stacked firewood. Now, imagine a vertical pallet at each end of the stack to keep it from exploding outward in either direction and killing the children.

But what about the pallets? What keeps them from exploding outward and killing the children?

You take two-by-fours and angel them against the pallets as braces. Now you can stack higher and higher and higher, mounding the pile up…



Daniel Williams

A poverty-stricken, soft Batman by night. Illustrator and writing teacher by day. Previously: McSweeney’s, Slackjaw.