Prolegomenon

Hands-BW-Photo

Hands
we both have hands
No.
We both had hands
when pressed palm to palm
my fingers extended over yours
and we marveled at the extension,
the explosion of heartbeats
against sternums
and felt against the pulse of our wrists
close enough to make contact,
live wires arcing current
to the pressure of pressed lips
to the grazing of bony hips.
Yeah.
We had hands.
Until we interlaced fingers
as you departed for your last flight.
Exchanging, “I’ll miss you”‘s
as our fingers slipped
from palm to tip
and unlocking.

I still wonder sometimes
if I had told you how I felt
if I could have avoided all this
Now I’m fairly certain
I don’t want to know the answer.

Our arms reached distances
for a short time.
And for a while still,
I could still feel your touch against mine
Until we locked our fingers this time,
intertwined like romance.
The distance in your eyes
pointed towards the ground
and with a quick twitch
a flick of the wrists
You upended my palms,
offered up my wrists to the sky
and pushed away.
In my agony, I climbed to my tip toes
and begged the word, “mercy”
But there was none
as you refused to look at me
while I screamed over and over
in submission
Wondering why you’d hurt me.
(I still ask the question to this day)

Then, quickly, you let go
turned
walked away
And in the wake I was left
with the task of assembling the pieces
and nursing my over-torqued shoulders and wrists.
That’s when I looked at my hands
and across each thumb and finger
was written in scorched-skin black,
a word written on the underside
of each digit
they read, left to right (starting with the thumb):
DENIAL
ANGER
BARGAINING
DEPRESSION
ACCEPTANCE
ACCEPTANCE
DEPRESSION
BARGAINING
ANGER
DENIAL

I studied these intently for a moment
trying to find their purpose or meaning
and why they had been
burned so deeply into my skin.
And then it hit me like a fist to a wall
that I was staring at the countdown clock
of my life after you
Where my journey would start and hopefully end
as I tried to cleanse myself
of the aching hole you left in my chest
when you unlaced your hands from mine
and immediately locked them into the hands
of someone else.

This is the beginning of the open hands
that desired to become fists
to grip the pen and write the lines
about who I don’t want to write about
anymore.
to raise themselves in victory
over the damage you’d done.

[This is only the beginning.]

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