The Good Hand
Often, without warning, my left hand
becomes a claw, like a drawstring’s
been pulled from forearm to fingers.
I have to press the hand flat,
hard against the nearest book,
to restore the head’s dominion.
Yes, it hurts but it ends, and I know
how to end it. So why, two-thirds
of the way through a life, this flood
of profanities, stamping of feet,
such furious bargaining before
I’ll pry my own fingers apart?
It never leaves, this frantic
need for someone to arrive,
for surer hands to unwind us.
as we were first uncurled, then
laid out to our full lengths
to be measured and proclaimed.
Once, we were swaddled
so we couldn’t revert
to the fiddleheads we’d been
when they pulled us from the waters.
Not this brittle leaf, not this hand.
We were beheld. Beheld!