Thursday, February 10, 2011


The other night I was walking
Letting the cold air numb my fingers and face
Listening for the rustling of stubborn leaves frozen to trees
The apples brown and shriveled, topped with snow
The other night I was walking with my hands crammed in my pockets
The tips of my ears frozen
And I breathed into my palms
And rubbed all the heat I could muster into the thin cartilage of my nose and ears
Passing a streetlamp, I noticed my hands
And a cut, stretching across two of my right fingers,
(Ring and middle)
That I did not remember.
This has happened before.
                     And then I start wondering, imagining this:
An acquaintance
                     A stranger holding a penknife,
Looking for something to say
                     edges around a corner,
Will notice hands and say
                      Spying elbows, knees, fingertips, ankles,
How did that happen?
                      Scraping and scratching knuckles and skin.
This is the first time I have ever noticed my hand, or it’s two-fingered cut.
                      I blame a thorny bush or the sharp corner of a table or a cement ledge.
I don’t know, I respond. And I do not.
                      But from behind a tree I pass every day
I imagine the scene in my mind’s eye.
                      The knife darts out to gnaw a line across my fingers.
                      Oblivious to the hand and knife,
                      I feel hardly anything, and what I feel I assume is a jutting branch.

And later I notice and I watch the red edges smart, wondering where it came from.
It’s something to look at.

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