As nothing else, our hands

remind us we are mortal.

Sifting earth or flour, loading supper

dishes, tracing a love’s face, upholding children,

cracking open

eggshells and safe combinations,

hefting books and baskets of laundry, unpressed,

the firm flesh loosens, unspools

into surface crenellations. Mottled

speckly fan whose hinges ache open, the body’s

marbled wall-covering

shot through with twining cobalt

veins. This coat encumbered

with markings, newer and newer gnarls

arisen as yeasts. Roping

as an elm, cored, bares etched years’


labors’ lifelines. Eternal bringers

of ministrations and caress

whose ultimate grasp— clasped rest.


One thought on “Hands

  1. Michael Purnell says:

    Our hands are a close second to our powerful brains for distinguishing us as a species from other animals. As such, they present a great focal point for a poem. But how to do justice to such a topic?

    I love both the imagery and the sound of the poem rolling off the tongue. Still more, it is encompasses the beauty of the hand as an instrument of love, service and life, while not shrinking from finitude. Our hands not only distinguish, they unite us, and even so far as our relationship with the animals, they feature structure inherited from creatures that swam the oceans 400 million years ago. Still more to think upon, and love, as we behold twining cobalt veins

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