They are covered in the dirt, Covered in the soot of a firepit,Covered with grit, Covered with potting soil,With flower petals,With gloves, With dirt under the nails. Hands that know housework, Know the vibration of the vacuum,Smells like the furniture polish,Know the broom.The rag,The mop, The cleaner sloshing in its bottle. They know the virtues of labor,The virtues of helping another,Virtues of schoolwork, of endless writing,The never-ending typing they are bound to do,Research papers,Computer classes,Science projects. They yearn for the touch of another,Another pair of hands for them to fit in,To hold always, forever,With no fear of leaving,No fear of the others’ treating them ordinarily,Knowing that they will always comfort;A pair that they will always search for, but never find. Hands that can go from sewing a quilt,To dismantling a machine;From cooking supper,To building a chicken pen;From drawing,To burning;Hands that know no bounds. They wish for higher learning, They wish to play the piano,They wish to be ambidextrous, Wish to wield a stethoscopeWish to be a veterinarian,To gain more knowledge and wisdom,To learn more, another language, perhaps. They are the hands that write the story,If only to escape for a while,That smell like the pages of the books they turn,While listening to the music;That write the poem,To let her feelings out,If only to escape for a while. They are the hands that hold the 2H pencil That makes the art,That holds the paintbrush, That are covered in graphite, In charcoal, in ink, marker, and acrylicSmearing the paper with the media. They are an artist’s hands. They are a teenager’s hands. They are mine.