Palinode (Hands, Hours, Light)


P A L I N O D E ( H A N D S , H O U R S , L I G H T)

Consider the hand, its breadth, its history in mathematics and limitation. 27 bones, two strokes. Distal phalanges spanning gaps.  You turn and wave at the winnowed tunnel and the drops feathering the glass. The sinister endures tasks of life; right blesses power and assuages guilt. Presuming inflection, I use both hands to tally the absent. Later as we drive through the checkpoint, our way greased by fluency in the language of coin, heaven’s oblique arch recedes and I praise the passage of hours.

I praise the passage of hours measured in terms unknown to some: beyond two, many. Returning, we see streets guided by lampposts, bent trees and the uneven drizzle of sidewalk mendicants blurring through their days. A hanged man’s dessicated hand (pickled in salt and the urine of man, woman, dog and mare) forms the Hand of Glory, unlocking any portal the bearer desires opened: a direct tool of consciousness. Lacking the fat of a gibbeted felon, I cannot properly light the way.

I cannot properly light the way, but we  observe facets in differing terms: the hand, lips, and mouth claim more neural innervation than the rest of the body combined, perhaps a consequence of the primacy of making and sounding. Candles smolder and yield to shadow through dancing hand stories. The wave of acknowledgment, a finger across the lips, the open hand proclaiming innocence, expressing, grasping, creating, constraining, releasing. Extinguishing.

* * *

This first appeared in Hermeneutic Chaos, Issue 11.





2 thoughts on “Palinode (Hands, Hours, Light)

  1. One of your puzzling poems!
    Frankly, this morning (continuing a long night’s aching) it’s my buttocks and legs vibrating neural innervation louder than any other part of my body – consequence of a winter storm’s aftermath that demands repetitive stooping, pulling, stacking, loading into bins. I’ll try concentrating on hand, lips, and mouth – maybe finger-pinch my lips repetitively – could be acupuncture-like pain relief?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I commiserate with you! This time it’s my right hip and leg, probably due to my last fall more than a month ago (damned ice!). That, and inactivity. I suppose we should be glad that our respective aching parts aren’t as innervated as lips, mouths and hands. My mind doesn’t feel old, but my body begs to differ. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.