Poetry & Prose

A Mother’s Hands


A machine of music,

A factory that spindles out songs

On the white keys of sorrow,

The black keys of happiness.

Fleshy crab-like discs with fingers thin as antennae

Dance in the only way they can,

To the crank of mallets, the pounding of rhythms.

They are the motion of ultimate creation,

Of a sound that has pervaded my entire existence.

The music in all my dreams,

A furnace that pumps out flames of inspiration,

A blinding, comforting sensation.


The theme songs written by dead men with grizzled beards

Are played by soft white pillows.

Oh, the most versatile of creatures

That can change shape and function;

The pillows beneath my head,

Around my curled fingers,

Rubbing a belly swollen from eating.

These pillows stroke hair black as tears,

Skin white as laughter.

In her palm is a miniature palm,

And the pillows melt into a turtle shell,

Protecting and guarding,

Patterned by soft wrinkles and creased lines.


Scraped knee, bruised skin, broken heart,

Arpeggios of streaming tears,

And her hands wipe them off,

Although they could be exploring the universe,

They could be building her own world,

Figuring out what the hell ultimate creation is.

Fingers crooked, poised as if to play a complex chord,

But only to clean dirtied skin

And bruised dreams

And wet eyes.

But when she looks in the mirror,

It is her own hands that are wiping her face.

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