Back Of Your Hand - Poem by sal carter
Veins bulge upwards out of your rugged hands, criss-crossed with lines,
Pumping hardworking blood around your body,
Your blood, my blood,
Those rugged hands strike out about their work,
With a single minded focus,
Each cell concentrated on a task.
Knife digs hard into feathery wood,
Gouging out a sliver of light ash
That floats to the ground like a discarded petal off a blood red rose.
The knife and stick sit still in your hands like gun and bullet,
Like tree and leaf,
One useless without the other to balance it.
Snick, snick, the metal cuts against the grain,
Stripping wood from living flesh,
Pulling away leaves of a plant to find the heart.
Palms moulding wood to a desired form,
slowly teasing it out,
pulling it into a desired shape.
I watch and envy your careful movements.
Frozen like stone quickly carving away at the wood,
I envy the way your hands move, with careful decision.
My muted, clumsy fists can only strike blank against the skin of the bough,
Scoring inaccurate wounds into its fragile flesh,
Making clumsy cuts into the bark, ripping out open wounds.
Maybe in time I’ll find that place where I can sit still and carve,
But till then I sit and watch you work, carving the wood so that it rises up,
The open branch, rugged, like the back of a hand.
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