Ode to my Hands

The aspidistra waits for you, my lank
…………tapering collections of osseous links,
to bring it water, and the piggy bank
….….squats on its metal legs in its moss-pink
enamel coat and waits for you to sluice
….a fortune, coin by coin, in through its back.
….….The just-used drill-bit waits for you to coax
….….….the keyless chuck loose
and tease it free; the filaments of milk
….….….are slopping patiently inside the goat.

You scuttle through my hair with a barrette.
….….….O porcelain crabs, you shuttle and molt,
cuticled, callow, harvesting the wet
….….….membranous lettuce before it can bolt,
wrapping the goat’s teat like a boa constrictor
….digit by digit. The salmon bricks you break,
….….the finials you pivot into place,
….….….the buttery elixir
as white and fragrant as a wedding cake—
….….….your missions involute and interlace,

each as exquisite as the latent heat
….….….the bladed bit discharges when you ease
it back into its case. O indiscreet
….….….and unabashed dominatrices
of my cortical homunculus,
….you know so much that I have long forgotten:
….….the knobs you’ve gripped, the number of nicks
….….….you’ve got, O cut-up pups,
the sheaves of silk and wool, the leaves of cotton,
….….….the bee and nettle stings, the needle pricks

from which you cower. In remembering,
….….….in rooting out the catch that I forgot
in the elusive latch, my tenderlings,
….….….you prove you are a thing that I am not.
For you, the box lid pops up. For you,
….the secret drawer unlocks. The sticky sash
….….unsticks and creaks along its painted chains,
….….….with just a tug or two
from you, just a light pressure on the glass.
….….….You speak to objects in your fingers’ tongues,

and when I want to gather up the cosmos,
….….….my gently buckling pitchforks, when I heave
and long and give you leave to do your utmost,
….….….your measures find the cosmos to retrieve:
you pluck Sonatas, you pluck Radiance
….and Seashells and Versailles and Psyche White.
….….They all kowtow, untethered in your grip,
….….….a floppy avalanche
of overlapping stalks and colored lights
….….….which you deliver like a cargo ship.

Hannah Louise Poston

Hannah Louise Poston

Hannah Louise Poston is a poet and essayist. Her poems have been featured on Poetry Daily and appeared or are forthcoming in a number of journals, including Ploughshares and The Yale Review. Her nonfiction has been featured on Longreads and appeared in The New York Times. Hannah is also an instructor of Argentine tango and the founder of Poema Clothing, purveyor of luxury handmade tango clothes. She has an MFA in poetry from the University of Michigan and she lives in Los Angeles.
Hannah Louise Poston

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Author: Hannah Louise Poston

Hannah Louise Poston is a poet and essayist. Her poems have been featured on Poetry Daily and appeared or are forthcoming in a number of journals, including Ploughshares and The Yale Review. Her nonfiction has been featured on Longreads and appeared in The New York Times. Hannah is also an instructor of Argentine tango and the founder of Poema Clothing, purveyor of luxury handmade tango clothes. She has an MFA in poetry from the University of Michigan and she lives in Los Angeles.