It’s her hands.
Hot soapy water runs over the years of lines and veins, stopping for a minute at the garnet ring that’s missing two stones
It’s in her hands
Perfectly shaped fingernails softly stroked by gentle pads, I know that means she’s thinking.
They don’t sew
They don’t bake, they don’t spend hours, doting
It’s in her hands though
They caress and lightly push the little golden hairs away from my temple
Soft earnest whispers cradle my fears and hold a weakness no one else will ever see
Clipping the green off strawberries
Plopped in a bowl lined
With liquid sugar and maple syrup
The shape of her knuckles cutting through summer berry flesh
Pairing knife perfectly angled
Swiftly missing her index finger reminds me of the way she peels potatoes
Home is in the smell of her morning coat, sweet murmurs of awakening and hope
But mostly it’s in her hands.
A web of acceptance and curiosity woven on a loom dedicated only to the making of spirit and truth.
Tears spent over little things that mattered, a lap waiting for my wet cheek to rest as long as it needed to grow up, no questions asked
Unfaltering belief and inability to see anything but what she’d dreamed of
Long drives of golden and blue expanse
Comfort filling the space in between our practiced silence
Me, taking for granted her sacrifice
Her, grateful just for my essence.
Smudge sticks and runes stuck on a shelf next to a book of human anatomy and something about child development that she didn’t need to read
Effortless instinct and a twinkle that rivals the fairies my younger versions, a gaze that lets me know life is hard and terrible and wonderful and filled with joy and I’m one of hers and do I know I’m one of hers and does she know she’s one of mine
It’s in her hands
A touch that begs nothing and requires no reciprocations
A pat on a knee in a warm afternoon, simple insight, unknowingly fixing me
Talk of Shakers and Adam and Eve confronted with Pagan traditions and the mortifying ceremony when I got my first period
Now I have my own hands.
I look down at mine and I see hers and the unbearable thought of when she will just be a memory haunts me again
I could forget her hands. Little snapshots will flash by and what if I can’t catch them and what if I never told her how much…
And what will happen when her hands are gone a thought that can only be answered with never-ending tears
What will happen when my hands are the only hands left that look like ours.
Written for my mother in February 2014.