Ode to My Hands
Five-legged pocket spiders, knuckled starfish, grabbers of forks, why do I forget that you love me: your willingness to button my shirts, tie my shoes—even scratch my head! which throbs like a traffic jam, each thought leaning on its horn. I see you waiting anyplace always at the ends of my arms—for the doctor, for the movie to begin, for freedom—so silent, such patience! testing the world with your bold myopia: faithful, ready to reach out at my softest suggestion, to fly up like two birds when I speak, two brown thrashers brandishing verbs like twigs in your beaks, lifting my speech the way pepper springs the tongue from slumber. O! If only they knew the unrestrained innocence of your intentions, each finger a cappella, singing a song that rings like rain before it falls—that never falls! Such harmony: the bass thumb, the pinkie's soprano, the three tenors in between: kind quintet x 2 rowing my heart like a little boat upon whose wooden seat I sit strummed by Sorrow. Or maybe I misread you completely and you are dreaming a tangerine, one particular hot tamale, a fabulous banana! to peel suggestively, like thigh-high stockings: grinning as only hands can grin down the legs—caramel, cocoa, black-bean black, vanilla—such lubricious dimensions, such public secrets! Women sailing the streets with God's breath at their backs. Think of it! No! Yes: let my brain sweat, make my veins whimper: without you, my five-hearted fiends, my five-headed hydras, what of my mischievous history? The possibilities suddenly impossible—feelings not felt, rememberings un- remembered—all the touches untouched: the gallant strain of a pilfered ant, tiny muscles flexed with fight, the gritty sidewalk slapped after a slip, the pulled weed, the plucked flower—a buttercup! held beneath Dawn's chin—the purest kiss, the caught grasshopper's kick, honey, chalk, charcoal, the solos teased from guitar. Once, I played viola for a year and never stopped to thank you—my two angry sisters, my two hungry men—but you knew I just wanted to know what the strings would say concerning my soul, my whelming solipsism: this perpetual solstice where one + one = everything and two hands teach a dawdler the palpable alchemy of an unreasonable world.
Copyright © 2010 by Tim Seibles. Used with permission of the author.