speak sign language to the hard-of-believing.
Your hands bury
rumors and gossip where they rot in place. Your hands
on the chests of tellers of truth. Your hands are mourning doves
nesting on granite
monuments of grief. Or are they camellia blooms stained
by winter rain?
Your hands plant prayers in depleted soil, tend their seedlings
under the bell jar
of faith. Your hands mark the hours of night on the ladder
of my back. Your hands
are weathered peninsulas in a sea that takes what it wants.
Your hands fan the perfume of the Holy Trinity
into the kitchen
of our nostrils. Oh garlic, oh tomato, oh basil. Your hands
are canvas canteens
filled from artisan wells. The water tastes of tears distilled
Your hands are a banked fire that can break into flame.
and mine are motherless children. Your hands ask questions
we dare not
answer with words. Answer with music or songs in a language
not our own.
Today your hands are swallows hunting the white moths
that come in May
when trilliums bloom on a shaded hillside.
Copyright 2016, Susan J. Erickson
Susan J. Erickson’s first full-length collection of poems, Lauren Bacall Shares a Limousine, recently won the Brick Road Poetry Prize. Her poems appear in Crab Creek Review, The James Franco Review, The Fourth River and The Tishman Review.