Somewhere: A Hand Is Reading Out Loud (Revised) - Poem by Amberlee Carter
Somewhere a hand is reading out loud-
an old bible, a weatherworn journal.
Recording the daily assaults –
memorizing rain and shielding eyes
from the sun.
Somewhere a hand strikes a child-
throws a drunkard down
a flight of stairs- watches
while the man struggles
to catch his breath, and eventually
attempts to stand himself upright
and when he cannot, a figure
reaching from his memory,
the hand of his father 45 years prier
reaching into a hole in the earth
to rescue a boy who had run away
from his discipline.
Somewhere someone reaches
from darkness, to utter shadow-
to meet the body of another:
trembling with excitement or fear.
traces both blades of their back,
parts the thighs like wind that rushes in
a new season, to reveal the lush, delicious
landscape of summer- rubs the elbow
and down the forearm to greet the palm
with a Braille kiss- turns each hand over
like autumn leaves, then watches while
the hands move back without help or
consciousness of the tender sleeper.
Somewhere someone enters the infinite
halls of the mind- into
the recesses of life, finds their dream
Somewhere a mother
weeps over her dead child-
uses her hair to bandage
the wound in his head- unfolds
her hands from prayer to shut
the cathedral window of his eyes-
presses her lips
to the kaleidoscope of his mouth:
feels the wind rush through her,
feels it as though grief has transformed her
from vertigo to nirvana. Sees without seeing;
the last light of the year; neither lit for
remembrance or cause- but, which burns
because it must….spark hope in the heart
of those who witness its extinguishing-
because it must strike fear into the soul
of those who dare to defy its burning.
Somewhere the homeless recycle
a portion of daily bread- find
the true nature of God in soup kitchens.
While baby Jesus sleeps, abandoned
in a dark alley, trash can for a crib-
Sky scrappers become angels
who surround him, bending their
metallic faces toward the sky-
reaching for compassion who
lingers out of touch tonight.
Somewhere a hand types the minds
solitary column, reaches for a shot glass
to calm the nerves- stretches out
an awkward arm for the phone
to ease the nostalgia.
Somewhere a hand receives a telegram,
a handshake, waves hello or goodbye-
while someone experiences this
in a café; hiding from rain-
the home or work place-
reads it as though
they are extension of another self-
contemplating the perception of living
and the notion of life- finds reasoning
is often times undecided.
Somewhere the dead prepare for
a long journey, away from the arms of the living,
pack the roses from their graves, remove the thorns
for grievance sake, like daggers
that pierce the heart of loved ones
who cannot move on.
And somewhere this poem begins
like tears, rushing back to their birthplace,
like wings incinerated upon re-entry.
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