Mother’s Hands

Mother’s hands

are strong, stubby, smooth and soft.

It touched my forehead
When a fever burned
Massaged my back when I could not sleep
While white ladies floated in my imagination.
It gently caressed me when something hurt,
From a stomach ache,
To a wounded knee from a daring fall
from rollerblading a downward slope.

When I was a little girl
my eyes gazed at her fingers
gracefully scribbling her signature at the cashier counter
watched her draw smiling faces and trees and houses and mountains
observed her cut apple peels
And knead dough for apple pies
Her hands knew everything
For everything her hands touched
Was perfect and polished
Incomparable to the works of my tiny, incapable hands.

Until I learned script at 3rd grade
My drawings turned from sticks to shades and shadows
My fingers learned to strum the guitar at 13
And by college
It could tinker scales and arpeggios on the piano
– eyes closed.
My hands shook President Obama’s
It has traveled far and wide
Packing and unpacking suitcases
From place to place,
(searching for fingers that could intertwine with mine)

It now knows where to go
And which finger to raise
For specific and special occasions.

But many times
My own hands betray me
They have played the wrong notes
wrote terrible poems
Shook hands with politicians
Grabbed things
That were not good for me
And made a terrible mess of myself.
It has learned how to cover my face
Rub my eyes
And wipe my own tears.
Many times,
Cold and clammy,
My hands shake from anxiety
Of the future
Of not knowing what to do,
what to build
Or who and what to keep.

I turn to my mother’s hands
Imperfect hands that
made its own mistakes
And cleaned up
Much of life’s dirt.
Yet still massages my back
On sleepless nights
When demons start to dance in my mind;
Opens the door for me
When I come home at 2am,
Drained and tired, heartbroken
And holds my hands together
When I have lost faith.

My mothers hands
Are stubby, smooth and soft
A little bit wrinkled now, yes
But still with unyielding strength and beauty
I take her palm and trace the lines and curves
That tell the story of her fate
Somewhere in her palms,
I look up to an invisible Almighty,
I’ve been given such honor
To be written in her destiny.

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