Mama's Hands


Mama’s hands--

They never held me


Mama’s hands--

They never rocked me to sleep


Mama’s hands--

They never styled my hair

or cleansed my tear-stained cheeks.


Mama’s hands--

Oh, how syrupy soft they were,

reeking of potent lavender perfume,

kissed with a silky shade

of honey brown.


And mama’s hands--

Did redden her lips,

blush her cheeks

As she wriggled into a long, gleaming gown

for a night of high-class

partying downtown.


Mama’s hands--

Were often cruel,

she’d let her force be known

Whenever she did slap me

with the smooth backside of her hand.


And Mama’s hands--

They never did lie,

they trembled with fear

Whenever Papa came home drunk and enraged.


Now Mama’s hands--

Are ripened with age,

knotted up,

unable to bend.


Mama’s hands--

Can’t wash her back

Or twist and braid

Her long, silvery hair.


Mama’s hands--

Were once alive with movement!

With lowered eyes

Mama touches my virgin hands,

her wiry fingers squeeze mine.

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