a learning tale

at 15 i discovered in class

the hands of young women:

how their fingers cradle a pencil

how those fingers have smooth knuckles and

long nails and

how those nails are long windows

with half moons rising.

i saw delicate symmetry

in the way their fingers

taper down to the tips,

in the way their hands

float like gliders,

and i dreamed their touch on my skin.


then mom got sick and i,

eldest of three sons,

tried to train my hands to do

what hers had done for us:

to separate colors from whites

to pour bleach as the agitator churns

to hang shirts on the line so not

to be pinched by the pin

to spread the collar flat before the iron

to chop the onion without blood

to mop the swirling dust.


years have passed.

last week at the home i watched her hands

knuckles thickened with calcium

fingers stiffened with pain

deftly feed father

then wipe his chin,


her hands blue-veined,

her nails with half-moons rising.


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I've been writing mostly poetry for many years and have gotten a number of works accepted in publications and anthologies. I'm most interested in communicating with poets for whom craft is a high priority. I enjoy finding and commenting on poetic gems in other people's work. For my own work, I welcome polite comments, whether positive or critical.

7 thoughts on “a learning tale”

  1. Impressed me. Hands,… I haven’t read a poem before about hands, touched too. We are getting older… Do you know the story of hands, Praying hands of Albrecht Durer, your beautiful poem reminded me this painting and the story behind of it. I was impressed so much… And now with you poem too. Thank you, love, nia


    1. nia, I do remember durer’s praying hands, but i don’t think i have read the story behind it. so i will do some research. thanks for letting me know about it and also for your kind comments about the poem. –michael

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh this is so beautiful. There’s definitely something about hands. I love the progression beginning with the young girl’s hands and the “half moons.” The description of how family evolves with hands, the mother’s hands caring for the aging father is just so emotional. Very well done, thank you so much for telling me about this one.

    Liked by 1 person

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