Consider the Hands that Write This Letter
(by Aracelis Girmay, after Marina Wilson)
Consider the hands
that write this letter.
The left palm pressed flat against the paper,
as it has done before, over my heart,
in peace or reverence
to the sea or some beautiful thing
I saw once, felt once: snow falling
like rice flung from the giants' wedding,
or the strangest birds. And consider, then,
the right hand, and how it is a fist,
within which a sharpened ustensil,
similar to the way I've held a spade,
match to the wick, the horse's reins,
loping, the very fists
I've seen from the roads to Limay and Esteli.
For years, I have come to sit this way:
one hand open, one hand closed,
like a farmer who puts down seeds and gathers up
the food that comes from that farming.
Or, yes, it is like the way I've danced
with my left hand opened around a shoulder
and my right hand closed inside
of another hand. And how
I pray, I pray for this
to be my way: sweet
work alluded to in the body's position
to its paper:
left hand, right hand,
like an open eye, an eye closed:
one hand flat against the trapdoor,
the other hand knocking, knocking.
What an amazing poem ! I've just listed in my shop a vintage "kit" containing a letter written by a young British lady to her aunt in October 1872 with a vintage nib and pen holder and a little piece of a very used blotting paper; then, I've found this poem, I love coincidences !