the structure of love

the structure of love

i remember your hands
balancing my bike ride. those blunt fingers
helping with my fractions. tacking a sailboat
in a Cape Cod storm.
taking my rook for checkmate. littering
the kitchen table with the springs and gears of an old clock.

a single finger tracing the path
of the radiation therapy. the hand clutching my shirt, bringing me
down to hear those last words i need a bedpan.

your hand i held, watching your chest rise, counting
the growing seconds between breaths.
your hand held her hand
when you cut the wedding cake. strong, sure fingers with
shiny bands papered the baby’s room. shared crosswords. cooked
brunch for the kids.

i know her hands.
strong hands making my 6th grade
pageant of saints costume — Hiawatha
from a coffee dyed pillow case. making my first dorm bed.
angry hands sweeping over the kitchen table,
then gluing the sugar bowl together again.
gripping the casket in between condolences.
making pizza for the grandkids. counting cross-stitch.

i know her hands. even bruised
by nurses needles, i know her hands braced in mine.


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