chocolate is a verb

colors, flavors, whims and other growing things

Tag Archives: hands

poem

The evolution

For a while, in the first months
of the pandemic, you feared your hands:

that they might be the engine of your destruction,
grab from the air, from book or doorknob,

newspaper or broccoli, the errant cell calling
to your lungs. Those hands, lathered, rinsed,

laundry hung out in a dust storm, dragged back in,
washed again. And your face, itching, yearning

for them, abandoned lover. Later, the air itself
became suspect and you held your breath on the trail,

in the grocery store, at the mailbox. Yet, shocked
by your isolation, your fear of contamination,

you came to enjoy the whims of unstructured days,
the naps and chickadees and jigsaw puzzles.

You called old friends, cleaned cupboards, ticked tasks
off your list, learned new technology. You had

no passport, no visa for the country called the future.
The microorganism would stamp your documents,

or not. So you gardened as if someone else
might harvest the beautiful purple peapods,

the lettuce, even the sudden radishes.
And then, as predictions became less dire,

you discovered a new fear:
that life would return to normal.

© J.I. Kleinberg

found poem: fingers

found poem: the extreme

found poem: the first

found poem: that evening

found poem: does

found poem: timely

found poem: I HEAR

the extreme…

aging…

your feet…

to make room…

something…

my father’s hands…

LRK ~ Desert Center ~ 1942In the yet-dark dawn, I rub my hands to warm them at the glowing hearth of the computer screen. Feeling my hands in my hands, I think of my father’s hands, solid and square, like the rest of him.

His ring finger was shorter than the others, the knuckle not aligned with its neighbors, but bending from deeper on the back of his hand. As a child, I would press that errant knuckle and he would explain, again, that his mother had forbidden him to play football — saving his hands for the violin, perhaps. But he played anyway, and one day he caught a hard throw directly on the end of that finger, driving it deep into his hand. Of course he couldn’t tell his mother.

I never understood how he could conceal it — certainly it must have been painful and swollen — but by the time the damage was revealed, the knuckle was out of place for good and the finger forever shortened. It worked alongside the others and if it hurt or bothered him, he never mentioned it, his hands hard-working and warm. He never was much of a complainer.

But as he grew older, he would sometimes come to the dinner table and prop his forearms on its edge, his hands held out like mitts, immobilized with arthritis. Unable to lift the fork and knife in front of him, he would be angry, not at the pain, but at the betrayal of these, his most reliable tools.

After a few days, the pain would subside and he could resume the things that brought pleasure and order to his life — carving, writing, turning the pages of a book, even shaving.

Sometimes I would notice him, in a quiet moment, rubbing his hands together, one massaging the other, warming them, waking them, readying them, and himself, for the work he was about to begin.

As I do, here, in the yet-dark dawn.

my mother’s hands…

my mother's handsHer hands were cool and slender, with narrow fingertips, tapered nails, and knuckles that were slightly enlarged. The skin on the back of her hands was freckled, and then spotted with age, and always delicate. It covered a tender architecture of fine bones, and snaking blue veins that seemed to have been added as an afterthought, on the surface instead of within. As a child, the barest pressure of my finger on one of those veins would cause it to slither left or right beneath her skin — a sort of mystery, magic, that never failed to fascinate me.

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