Def Poetry: Sarah Kay “Hands”

Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry.

Sarah Kay “Hands”:

people used to tell me that i had beautiful hands
told me so often, in fact, that one day i started to believe them
until i asked my photographer father, “hey daddy could i be a hand model”
to which he said no way, i dont remember the reason he gave me
and i wouldve been upset, but there were far too many stuffed animals to hold
too many homework assignment to write, to manny boys to wave at to
many years to grow, we used to have a game, my dad and i about holding hands
cus we held hands everywhere, and every time either he or i would whisper a great
big number to the other, pretending that we were keeping track of how many times
we had held hands that we were sure, this one had to be 8 million 2 thousand 7 hundred and fifty three
hands learn more than minds do, hands learn how to hold other hands, how to grip pencils
and mold poetry, how to tickle pianos and dribble a basketball, and grip the handles of a bicycle
how to hold old people, and touch babies , i love hands like i love people, theyre the maps and compasses
in which we navigate our way through life, some people read palms to tell your future, but i read hands
to tell your past, each scar marks the story worth telling, each callased palm, each cracked knuckle is a
missed punch or years in a factory, now ive seen middle eastern hands clenched in middle eastern fists
pounding against each other like war drums, each country sees theyre fists as warriors and others as enemies
even if fists alone are only hands. but this is not about politics, no hands arent about politics, this is a poem about love, and fingers. fingers interlock like a beautiful zipper of prayer. one time i grabbed my dads hands so that our fingers interlocked perfectly but he changed positions, saying no that hand hold is for your mom. kids high five, but grown ups, we learn how to shake hands, you need a firm hand shake,but dont hold on too tight, but dont let go too soon, but dont hold down for too long, but hands are not about politics, when did it become so complicated. i always thought its simple. the other day my dad looked at my hands, as if seeing them for the first time, and with laughter behind his eye lids, with all the seriousness a man of his humor could muster, he said you know you got nice hands, you could’ve been a hand model, and before the laughter can escape me, i shake my head at him, and squeeze his hand, 8 million 2 thousand 7hundred and fifty four.

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