Hands

Blue veins snake across the back
like streams meandering through a flat plain.
Rough calluses dot the fingers
creating dry patches of skin.
The palms are lined in crisscrossing patterns
like an old man’s face.
Nails are broken and haphazard
polish worn and old.
cracked.
These are my mother’s hands.

Palm to palm,
these hands taught me to pray;
hid faces for peek-a-boo;
clapped together at my small victories.
Fingers,
these hands held mine to cross the street;
felt my forehead for fever;
wiped tears from my cheeks when I fell.
Calluses,
these hands sewed tiny pearls on a long bridal veil
washed untold loads of laundry
gripped the steering wheel of my taxi to school dances.

Blue veins snake across the back
years shown in streams of winding color.
Rough calluses dot the fingers
badges of years of heart filled work.
The palms are lined in crisscrossing patterns
lifelines etched deep from being well lived.
the nails are broken and haphazard
trademarks of fun and frugality.
Of life and love.
These are my mother’s hands.
These hands are mine.

(c) Paige Stannard 2008

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