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About this Poem 

"'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.

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.

by this poet

poem
the cocktail hour finally arrives: whether ending a day at the office
or opening the orifice at 6am [legal again to pour in californica]: the time is always right

we need a little glamour and glamour arrives: plenty of chipped ice
a green jurassic palm tree planted. a yellow spastic monkey swinging

a pink
poem
and yet we think that song outlasts us all:  wrecked devotion
the wept face of desire, a kind of savage caring that reseeds itself and grows in clusters

oh, you who are young, consider how quickly the body deranges itself
how time, the cruel banker, forecloses us to snowdrifts white as god's own ribs



what
poem

Watching Picnic again for the
umpteenth time. We need
more trains. The tin-roofed stations in
red brick or the grand multi-track
white terminals. Someone left
me by train once, tearily, and
I never should have let his
jive ass back in to collect his things
that were