Dear Hands,


United States
34° 4' 28.4664" N, 117° 41' 46.6152" W

I’m writing to inform you that empty crowds aren’t good enough a reason to form a fist. Don’t strike against my objective. I apologize that you’re getting tired of the ache of holding a pen, too tightly, too long. I apologize for the crumbled papers. Forgive the sound of fingers tapping on keyboards with absurd urgency, only to use the backspace key to delete your--


I hear your impatience. I pray you: don’t turn your palms away. Watch myself sketching, still growing into me. Remember that my words are the undertone curiosity of a little girl, still wondering:


Why should the measure of a woman’s worth coincide with the measure of her waist? Why should equality hold rigid categories limited to the places we come from, the people we love, and the perspectives we carry?


Don’t press me into silence. I’m tired of women learning more about hating themselves than pinning their dreams to the tails of shooting stars. I’m tired of the moment she hears the words “ugly” and “colored” collide and feels shame.


Help me reach beyond the things I’ve felt—all I know is this body, reflected in the mirror in every shade of good and bad mornings.


Point me in the direction of sublime.


Teach me how to stretch my empathy, to clasp the hands of women and men, and ask them their name, their story. Smooth the wrinkles running through my aging heart.


Take us back to the moment you first wrote my name…

how you gave each letter wide s p a c e, like a tribute to the air you displace when you’ve stretched. You are caressed creation. You are dangling destruction. These fingertips are powerful, believe me.


Dear hands, give me your consent to write my story. Give me your consent to stumble as a poet in development. I want to hold and twist standards, to feel for myself. Tonight, there’s a hurricane forming in my chest. My body feels so small.


Dear hands, there’s so much more waiting. Please hold on.

Dear hands, we matter. We are matter. We are here.


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