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