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"'The Artist's Hand' is a tribute to sculptor Mark di Suvero, whose work may be seen at Chrissy Field in San Francisco and adjacent to AT&T Park." —D. A. Powell

The Artist's Hand

D. A. Powell, 1963




for Mark di Suvero Nailbeds pink, deeper pink toward the cuticles,
      cuticles a little rough, but clean.
                              Obsessively clean.
A little yellowing under the edges of the nails,
                              the fingers boney, bowing, and large knuckles
where skin bunches like roses puckered on fabric.
                              A hand in need of moisturizer.
A sanitized hand. A worried hand? Hands don’t worry.
Spots that change. One that elongates into a question mark.
                              Well, hasn’t that hand done something?
                                         It is a form of making when it makes.
But mostly the hand is an idle thing
      & therefore available for scrutiny
unlike the artist himself, his stillness a form of motion,
                              intent upon a subject so close to his heart
                              that he must hold it out, away from all other limbs
                              and parts of the body, to see it as itself, a hand,
agent of the mind and yet separate from all thought.
                              All his effort goes into the hand, and through the hand
                                         makes visible the scale of imagination, so that
                              what’s left is not the hand
                                         but its testament.

Copyright © 2013 by D. A. Powell. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on October 8, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

D. A. Powell

D. A. Powell

D. A. Powell was born in Albany, Georgia on May 16, 1963.

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