The Hands of Woman

by gaynorfitzgibbon

Long and slender
Symbols of perfection,
Elegance manifested with manicures of the French variety,
Or neon gels
And bling that teeters impossibly on tips of fingers.
Zany, gaudy designs all,
A little dash of sparkle here and there.
For others a natural sheen,
A mere touch or sprinkle of glamour,
Not wishing to appear too frivolous.

Chubby digits – just as perfect!
Childlike,
A clumsy grapple behind the ear.

Others large, attractive, with masculine span,
Not so unrefined! Bony knuckles protrude nonetheless.
Fingers broad and palm broader,
Square in shape, firm and strong,
Reliable and calming,
Ultimately practical,
Enabling others to feel safe,
Even if tentative at times, unsure of sex appeal,
Though playing with hair takes place coquettishly enough.

And these? Petite, oh so petite!
Soft and fragile, seeking protection,
Crying out to be grasped firmly, follow my leader,
No decisions to make.

See here dark and calloused skin,
Most beautiful,
Revealing toil and struggle,
Cooking, cleaning, tending of one day followed
By another and another.
Endless exasperation,
Hopeless resignation that must be borne.
Rough, scratched and sore,
Tired,
A chance to rest only when ceaseless demands cease.

And what of the beginning,
When those gender present hormones have yet to hatch?
When still the tiny delicateness of femininity captured in minuscule nails,
Pure and innocent,
Provides no concept of place,
Of prison, or palace or power yet to come?
Curling lightly,
Clinging when offered something safe to grip,
The aching, swollen limbs of twilight so far away.
She does not know that with one blink,
Just one blink and soon it will appear.

And there she is, waiting to be called,
Skin, a little gnarled in places, as thin as rice paper,
Mottled brown with age in spots,
And veins apparent.
Still nimble if demanded, yet
Unsteady, shaky,
The frustration of losing control,
Less firm of grip no matter how determined of soul.

No more need to orchestrate the keys of words or music,
To knead the bread of life,
Or pluck sweet roses that caused surprising pain from time to time.

No more braids to plait,
No more ribbons to tie,
No more hair to stroke,
No more tears to wipe,
No more snot to clean or brows to smooth,
No more shoulder to calm or back to gently rub,
No more fruit to pick from shelf or tree,
No more needles to click or pin to point,
No more cup to hold nor pen,
No more innocent to cradle or beloved to caress,
No more pot to carry,
No more burden to drag or lift or hold,
Nothing more to touch, to feel or sense,
Nothing more, save endless sleep,
As weary hands of woman – stop.

And finally, lay down to rest.

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