Hands

Location

I woke up like this.
I also went to sleep like this, 
this is how I look every day.

I noticed my face for the first time today
in a bathroom on campus, two classes in and
seven hours after I woke up and seven hours after
I saw my hands for the first time this morning.

My hands are always in front of me,
pulling me forward, pushing me out of bed in the mornings,
even before my head is awake
they’re already searching through the dark.

They change with the season, they tell me
what I did yesterday in a dialect of
scabbed cuts, rough spots, broken nails and blistering skin.
They pride me with reminders of unscathed strength,
of first tries, of a confidence
I have never been able to express by way of face.

When my brain starts pressing on the inside of my skull,
when my heart is breaking,
when the fear and the stress and the directionless panic
take the place of the air in my lungs like stones,
my fingers find pens, sewing needles,
a cup of something hot to press into my palm,
and in some small way they work to impress upon the world,
even when I don’t know myself,
that I Am Not Done.

They open too often to fill,
reach so often it’s a wonder they grasp 
anything at all. 
I’ve been told they’re soft, in the winter 
on the occasion they find other hands.
When warmth jumps from my fingertips,
even the celestial geometry of the snow 
yields and fades.

This poem is about: 
Me

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