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I am distracted
Gene13 Released Jan 03, 2014

I am distracted by my grandmother’s hands.

They hold my mind gently, trying to coax me into remembrance.

Every time I try to grasp them they dissolve.

What did they feel like?

I know I’ve held them,

some time years ago as a child.

I can see them working;

making dinner rolls; pulling weeds from the garden,

stubborn dandelions that explode like grenades at the slightest touch;

husking corn, pulling their green cloaks away efficiently,

ignoring their squeaks of protest.

But these hands are a blur.

Moving too fast for the film to capture them clearly.

They are too practiced, too good at what they do,

too busy to slow down and give me a closer look.

I never paid close enough attention.

Never thought to look down and compare:

Are your hands like mine?

(Is that why your wedding ring fits me so well?)

With the scent of butter alluding to summer corn I am undone.

Finality settles in, suffocating, smothering me with its humidity.

It presses against my temples, sinks against the backs of my eyelids,

draws the air out of my lungs and denies it re-entrance.

I should have memorized them, those hands,

the most unselfish hands that ever existed,

always giving, rarely receiving, and even then clumsily, unwillingly,

their fingers not used to the gesture.

Better equipped for tying skates, picking berries, dealing cards.

Maybe one day when my wrists are etched with laugh lines

and my skin is replaced with crinkled tissue paper,

when my freckles have grown large

and my nails crack under the weight of a full life,

I’ll look down at my hands,

no longer distracted by those of my grandmother.

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Ladies and Gentlemen, people of the world, all seven billion of you descended from Mitochondrial Eve and Biological Adam, connected, yet separated by a genetic difference of 0.1%.


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