My Hands by Rachel Rein

My Hands by Rachel Rein

Submitted to The Coup: Wanderlust, Vol. 31 (2013)

My grandmother once grasped my wrists and whispered

more softly than the crinkling rustle of fallen leaves.

“Hermosas manos-beautiful hands.

Frail porcelain spiders not yet shaped by earth.”

She steadied them while I beat mortar to pestle,

crushing sturdy kernels of maize into sweet violet powder,

and scolded me as I scooped onto my tongue

handfuls of warm gooey polenta.

Together we watched my tenacious fingers begin to mold

clay into the forms of the coyote and elk,

kaolin and mica into porous earth,

Adam’s rib into curvaceous Eve.

Golden-yellow ochre escaped my grasp and hung

beneath oblique arches and callused thumbs.

My grandmother knelt before me and studied

my sand dune palms carved by great plum vein,

moon crescent nails, the intricate whorls printed upon fingertips

stained form droplets of light abandoned

by the rising sun

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