These are my mother's hands,
old hands with blue ropey-roadmap veins
that other old nurses leer at, wantonly,
ready to insert a large gauge IV,
using no tourniquet.
Hands that flutter together like moths
when the urge to smoke intrudes.
Hands that are washed too much.
Hands with loose skin
like tissue paper
and weird brown spots.
Ten stubby fingers with nails,
too ugly to paint,
Just right to bite.
Hands decorated with 6 spinning
too large for the spindly fingers
of a blooming old lady.
Hands with a life of their own
with their own ideas about things.
Reaching for babies
braiding long hair.
Stroking strange cats and dogs,
holding bristly insects and
the cool smooth skin of snakes.
Touching a brand new flat top haircut
and the smooth baby-soft skin
under my husband's beard.
Checking for fever, and pulses
Calming the fearful
the confused, the confined.
even when the rest of me doesn't want to.
Hands that have slapped and swatted
And stroked and sweated and clapped
and held on to other hands
trying to anchor us together
on this wild ride.
Hands that are in league
with the heads notion
Not even concerned with
the continuous short circuiting
They sit ready over a white expanse of paper,
until the head produces a random firing of neurons
trying to regurgitate an original thought.