by D. C. Haddock

My hands were really cold tonight, so I wrote this for you guys.

handprint on window

Flex, and straighten, fists curled, white knuckles.

Ten fingernails, ten knuckles, innumerous creases and crevices,

Places where memories were trapped and held into infinity

So that I might find them again one day and smile or cry

At their behest.

If I curl and cramp these fingers and hold them taught, tense

 And form tiny little cages

Mistakes and regrets would be shoved up against one another

In my left palm

Clamoring like a circle in hell, screaming at me

Through my fingers, threatening to crack my bones

While in my right, hopes, dreams, ideals, loves

Would be caressing and embracing one another

Asking me to join them

Begging me to free them

Wishing I’d favor them.

In my palms, I once held

A happy puppy, a brandy snifter, a witch’s broomstick, a stuffed lion

A tendril of Mother’s hair, a tarantula, a laden bus tub

A microphone stand, a wrapped paper gift, a letter of acceptance

A pool of blood, a rollie pollie, a pair of handlebars, a vase of yellow tulips

But ne’er felt so good as when

Hands found another’s shoulder blades as

Arms wrapped around each other,

As when a palm placed over a chest proved to one that

Life was still alive, hearts were still beating

As when one’s fingers molded into another’s

And each tip clung to each knuckle

A perfect lattice of love, filigree of fidelity.

All hands were made to know.

And now, as I look down at mine

I see the blue fingernails losing feeling

As they move faster across the keys

Cracking skin stretched thin and taught

As fingers move to punch another button

Tiny, undefined veins creeping under the cover of skin, stifling blood flow

All hands were made to know.

All hands were made for another’s.