Hands

Achiote stained hands

My hands have blisters
in the most incredible places.
The tip of my pinky,
the edge of my palm,
along my heart line,
two in the moon of my index.
Each has a name,
like constellations:
the mark of
the hoe
the scythe
the pickaxe
the wheelbarrow
the shovel.
My lover is dismayed.
He cups my hands,
mourns each wound,
says, “You had
the hands of an artist.
They were beautiful.
I’m sorry I brought you
to this hard life.”
I smooth his furrowed brow
with my roughened hands.
I open them wide and
point to each mark.
“They are still beautiful,”
I say, “Their form has not changed,
and look–here is our garden.
Here is the pasture
we cleared for the cows.
Here the smoothed driveway,
the terraces, the new patio,
and here is the orchard that
we cleared with the children.
My hands are a map
of the land we are
making beautiful again,
written in a Braille
that only farmers can read.”

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