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Tag : hands

The Lilith Blog

May 12, 2020 by

Poetry: Thirteen Ways of Looking at Life Before The Virus

I.

I remember shaking hands:

damp sweaty hands and dry scratchy hands,

bone-crushing handshakes and dead-fish handshakes,

two-handed handshakes, my hand sandwiched 

between a pair of big beefy palms.

I remember hairy hands and freckled hands,

young smooth hands and old wrinkled hands,

red-polished fingernails and bitten-jagged fingernails,

stained hands of hairdressers who had spent all day dyeing,

dirty hands of gardeners who dug down deep into the good earth.

 

II.

Thousands of years ago, a man stuck out his right hand

to show a stranger he had no weapon.

The stranger took his hand and shook it

to make sure he had nothing up his sleeve.

And that is how it began.

 

III

I remember sharing a bucket

of greasy popcorn with a boy

at the movies

(though I no longer remember

the boy or the movie)

the thrill of our hands

accidentally on purpose

brushing each other in the dark.

 

IV

I remember my best girlfriend 

and me facing each other to play

a hand-clapping game, shrieking

“Miss Mar…Mack! Mack! Mack!”

and the loud satisfying smack!

as our four palms slapped. 

 

V.

I remember high fives

and how we’d laugh when we missed

and then do a do-over.

 

VI.

I remember the elegant turn

of shiny brass doorknobs

cool to the touch.

 

VII.

I remember my mother’s hands

tied to the railings of her hospital bed

and how I untied them

when the nurse wasn’t looking

and held them in my lap.

 

VIII.

I remember holding my father’s hand

how the big college ring he wore

rubbed against my birthstone ring

and irritated my fourth finger

but I never pulled away.

 

IX.

I remember the joy of offering

my index finger to a new baby

who wrapped it in her fist

as we gazed at each other in wonder. 

 

X.

I remember tapping a stranger

on the shoulder and saying,

“Your tag is showing.

Do you mind if I tuck it in?”

She didn’t mind. I tucked it in.

 

XI.

I remember salad bars and hot bars.

I remember saying, “Want a bite?”

and offering a forkful

of food from my plate.

I remember asking, “Can I have a sip?”

and placing my lips

on the edge of your cold frosty glass.

 

XII. 

I remember passing around the kiddush cup,

each of us taking a small sip of wine.

I remember passing around the challah,

each of us ripping off a big yeasty hunk.

I remember picking up a serving spoon

someone had just put down

without giving it a second thought.

XIII.

I remember sitting with a mourner

at a funeral, not saying a word,

simply taking her hand.

 

–Lesléa Newman

Copyright © 2020 by Lesléa Newman. First appeared in New Verse News. Used by permission of the author.

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