A muscled hand pinned mine. It was a joke –
a demonstration in a public room
that I could talk without them. Calloused hand:
enormous, square-cut. I have ugly ones
myself – or thought so till he caught them up
in one deft swoop, and grinned. Immobilized
in prayer position: quick-stop power-hand,
snatching my gestures from the smoky air.
Long-fingered men are known to move like that.
Quick, slender hands – think surgeons, pianists.
They have to; you expect it. But this hand
held mine two-fingered, pressed against one palm
relaxedly. While everybody watched.
Like it was easy; like he might clutch birds
“That would do it, yes.”
I nod, judiciously; the hand lets go.
And talk resumes like nothing happened there.
But I know better, darn it.
If you've any comments on this poem, Kathryn Jacobs would like to hear them.