Ever since I was a baby,
When I was first overwhelmed with senses and pain,
She told me that I had long, elegant fingers, the most beautiful hands.
They were thin but strong, just like the threads of a spider’s web.
Sometimes I shovel heaps of sorrow into the dimly lit caverns of my mind;
At others, I shave morsels of anguish from this world into my head,
All with those tiny, thinly pressed fingers that used to break so easily.
I asked and pleaded at the age of six:
“Who am I?”
Instead of a laugh or doubt,
She told me--
She told me I was someone, somewhere, for some purpose.
Not in her words, but in her ways.
My beautiful, beautiful fingers, trying to create something or bind another
Always left gaps and holes
No matter how haphazardly I tried to patch them together
Only to be remedied by what she told me.
Now my fingers are chubbier and thicker,
More callused by the wear and tear of life and circumstance.
And her fingers, they turned to even deeper creases and lines
Like a connect-the-dots game running wild on skin.
And then, they turned blue to pink
Again one day to blue.
And now? To ash.
I can no longer hear what she tells me.
Only what she told me helps my heart.
But I remember what I told her.
I told her that her fingers,
They reach up and around my body,
Tightly grasping me:
Trying to seal in the love shared between us.
I told her that those callouses
Were God’s way of telling her she had done more than her share
Of shoveling heaps of sorrow into the dimly lit caverns her pretty little shoulders;
And at others, shaving morsels of anguish onto her lap,
I told her
I had looked at pictures.
She told me she had been in those pictures.
Those pictures of a beautiful, perfect lady
With neatly arranged, bouncy permed curls
Resembling my own natural and elegant spirals
And those familiar blue-green-grey eyes with a tight little almond shape
That I see every day in the mirror
Those pretty little thin fingers, not quite as long as mine,
But soft and supple and graceful
A mark of what she told me.