Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Prompt 10: What I have loved I cannot hold.

Your hands were soft and strong.
No, you had working hands, with rough nubs and edges.
But they were tender hands, kind hands, warm hands.
These adjectives aren't enough.
I search for the right words to describe your hands
and wonder why I didn't make notes sooner.
Why I didn't ask you to sit like a model in a life drawing class,
while I took in every detail of you so that I could recreate it now.
Why I didn't photograph your hands,
draw your hands,
imprint them in clay,
the way parents preserve the tiny hands of babies.
Why is it only newborn fingers we immortalise?

I didn't fully know you,
hadn't yet explored the back of your hand or the palm.
I hadn't made a map of hairs and freckles and.veins.
I hadn't traced your lifeline with my finger,
didn't realise it was short,
just knew that your love line was strong.
What I do know is that you had big hands,
good hands,
hands that held mine snug and tight.
"Your tiny hand is freezing," you said
as you sandwiched it between yours.
You were a furnace warming me from the
outside in, inside out.

I cannot hold your body next to mine,
cannot feel the flood of calm as you wrap yourself around me.
I cannot describe the exact feeling of your skin on my skin
or find the right expression for the way we touched.
I never stopped mid-embrace to write down exactly
how you tasted when we kissed,
but I can say this:

you felt like home.