How they chop—
Caress, hold, clasp
Prepare meals, scrub toilets
Clutch the dying, cover the dead
Hands hold hands
Their touch—
Pick, sort, pinch
Holding, grabbing, violating
Loving? Loving up and down, exploring
Pushing, pulling, scratching, resting
On waists, ripping then wiping
Counters and feet, pressing piano keys
Operating machines, flipping magazines
Hands hold hands
Killed, hung, cut, skinned
Taught, wrung, point—
To you? Or to oneself
Slipping spinning hands
Folding… holding up
Worlds, a child
Combing hair, bandaging
These hands that mend
Scent… wear and tear is
All they carry from one task to the next
Bearing wrinkles, they’ve wielded worlds.
How do they not break, chip, crack, fall…
Off to the ground, where would we be
Without these hands that hold me
Up by my knees, and five fingers make
A church steeple, here look Love is all the people
Hands hold hands
Rough knuckles bearing dimples—
Map of your life, those hands of yours?
Hands have they hurt have they held
Hands hold hands



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