History of Hands: A Poem

Photo by Luis Quintero from Pexels
If I take time to look down,
the lines have grown on these hands.
Mom, brother, and I – the happy family.
Clenched fists at my sides. These hands
have felt the bristly face of an imaginary
father. These ears covered with these hands.
These eyes closed. I can’t picture the color
of his skin, shape of his nose. Behind these hands,
I scream silently. I don’t want to see
him. He touches them in dreams – these hands.
We ate cold hot dogs by the river,
the bitter smell of fish on these hands.
We flew kites in beach winds,
the salty air pulling at these hands.
We danced to slow songs with my mother,
twirling her beneath the grasp of these hands.
If I take time to look.
If I take time to rest these hands
on my chest and open my eyes,
I can see us together again. These hands
finally open and warm. His face
and mine together, resting our heads in these hands.

Originally published in ByLine Magazine in 2008.

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