My Hands

Black and white image of clenched baby hand next to my old wrinkly one with too tight wedding and engagement rings, showing contrast betwee the two.

Baby hands, slippery with dribble,

Fascinating.

Next, with fingers chubby and sticky,

Practising with a teaspoon,

Diving into a Squat Tiggywinkle dish.

New year’s Eve, woken by party noise,

Arms upstretched,

Hands lifted high to joyful, incomprehensible Auld Lang Syne.

Nine years old. Walking with Dad.

His large warm hand,

Safe.

Teenager.

Too young.

Engagement ring shiny on slender finger.

Wedding ring,

Hands clenched tight,

Mistake exacerbated.

Bare hands,

Joyous freedom,

Waving farewell to marriage – for now.

Responsible hands,

Supporting baby’s fragile neck.

Keyboard hands,

Fingers tapping,

Study, programming, handshakes, advancement.

Throbbing palms,

Clapping with pride at children’s achievements.

Mixing, chopping, forming, washing up,

Burns on skin leave lines of scars.

Teaching,

Can’t touch,

Hands dusty from battered library books.

Retired now,

Skin like screwed up tissue paper,

Still tapping keys,

Gripping rails for balance,

Rubbing painful hips,

Painting, writing, creating,

Life’s not over yet.

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