These Hands, If Not Gods
By Natalie Diaz
Haven’t they moved like rivers --
like Glory, like light --
over the seven days of your body?
And wasn’t that good?
Them at your hips --
isn’t this what God felt when he pressed together
the first Beloved: Everything.
Fever. Vapor. Atman. Pulsus. Finally,
a sin worth hurting for. Finally, a sweet, a
You are mine.
It is hard not to have faith in this:
from the blue-brown clay of night
these two potters crushed and smoothed you
into being --grind, then curve --built your form up --
atlas of bone, fields of muscle,
one breast a fig tree, the other a nightingale,
both Morning and Evening.
O, the beautiful making they do --
of trigger and carve, suffering and stars --
Aren’t they, too, the dark carpenters
of your small church? Have they not burned
on the altar of your belly, eaten the bread
of your thighs, broke you to wine, to ichor,
to nectareous feast?
Haven’t they riveted your wrists, haven’t they
had you at your knees?
And when these hands touched your throat,
showed you how to take the apple and the rib,
how to slip a thumb into your mouth and taste it all,
didn’t you sing out their ninety-nine names --
Zahir, Aleph, Hands-time-seven,
Sphinx, Leonids, locomotura,
Rubidium, August, and September --
And when you cried out, O, Prometheans,
didn’t they bring fire?
These hands, if not gods, then why
when you have come to me, and I have returned you
to that from which you came --bright mud, mineral-salt --
why then do you whisper O, my Hecatonchire. My Centimani.
My hundred-handed one?
"The images and hands of this poem began building during Mass one Sunday. The reading was about the laying of hands on someone, and I began thinking of how my own hands work upon a body," Diaz told Poets.org. "How they do things both beautiful and awful—to gently trace a throat in one moment, to hold it tightly in another -- a type of sweet wreckery that makes me feel godlike and helpless all at once."
We were going to go to the Frederick Museums by Candlelight tour on Saturday, but the snow forecast convinced half the museums to close altogether or to close early, and since we had flurries here by late morning, we ended up staying in the house all day doing boring home chores while Adam did homework. We're going to try again tomorrow and my in-laws may meet us if they can get out of their driveway in Pennsylvania, but we're all playing everything by ear (or by the weather).
I believe (I hope) I have my Transformer Book in some semblance of working order, having installed a Start Menu workaround, though I still can't make it boot into safe mode unless I start it normally and tell it to boot that way next time. We watched some of the Army-Navy game and some college basketball, and in the evening Cheryl and I watched Peter Pan, which had come up in conversation the night before so we were in the mood. From the Countryside Artisans tour last weekend:
During the winter tour, Art of Fire plays host not only to the usual glassblowers' wares...
...but homemade jams from Olney Natural...
...hand-painted ornaments from Coyote Graphics...
...prints from the Maryland Renfaire's Allen Ye Printmaker...
...beads and small lampwork item from Great Panes Glass...
...and TARDIS mugs plus pirate and pagan items from Dancing Pig Pottery.