All the words in all the worlds

can never confess more than my hands.


Read my hands like a tome.

Feel the terrain with your fingers like braille.

See the constellations like stars that tell you how to find home.


Not the lines on my palm but

the crests and valleys on the other side,

the cracks like desiccated mud,

the scales that shed like I used to wear another skin.

(That’s because I did.)


Watch as the flakes fall away:

sand on a beach, sand in an hourglass.

Deserts made from

the whispers that whittled

along the folds of my brain,

sharp and smiling.


How boldly they carve, these phantom blades

that draw their rivers and roads in red,

on my hands and in my head,

that keep as silent as my envy:

my longing for the promiscuity

of your hands,

the way they touch without inhibition,

their blessed indulgence.


Hands that are meant for opening doors and for piano keys,

hands for other hands, hands for brushing tears.

But not mine. My hands are split open like my thoughts,

and so the salt burns.


I have my mother’s hands and my mother’s sickness.

Her story repeats itself in me,

her cracks become my own,

the blood on her hands is the blood on mine.

I need to wash it away:


lather, rinse, repeat.