Nancy A. Ruffin

(Brooklyn, NY)

My Grandmother's Hands


My grandmother's hands
have massaged tired limbs
and weary hearts
they have cleaned homes,
swept floors,
toiled grass roots
in cemented lands
laid bricks and mortar
that paved the road to freedom.

My grandmother's hands
have coddled bodega lotto dreams
like her new born child
they are lamb's wool
on the naked skin
of future generations.

My grandmother's hands
have clasped arctic
tenement floors
shielding 5 finger back slaps
that burned souls like hot coals
pink-grey cinders of ash
marked with years of resentment
for the lives they couldn't save.

My grandmother's hands
have molded
boys into men
girls into women
with strength
like old family traditions
overflowing with
unfulfilled promises
that time has carried away
and all that is left
are the years of struggle
permanently engraved on
the palms of
my grandmother's hands.

Submitted: Saturday, March 03, 2012
Edited: Saturday, March 03, 2012

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