Julie Bruck

The Good Hand
September 5, 2015 Bruck Julie

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!

Julie Bruck received Canada’s Governor General’s Literary Award for her third book, Monkey Ranch. Her new collection, How To Avoid Huge Ships, was published in 2018. She lives in San Francisco.