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[POETRY] Her Hands.

Updated: Sep 30, 2023

by Tiff Joy


She never had pretty hands.


Those polished princess hands are soft to the touch and gentle.

No, her hands were not delicate.


Peeled back hang nails, left dried blood in place of cuticles – washing dishes isn’t very good for the skin.


Knuckles sag from too much nervous cracking- waitin’ for mom, hoping she’d come home happy.


Fist bruised from punching her way through shut doors and “never gonna happen” opportunities.


No, her hands were not very pretty; they were used, abused, and functional.


Be lucky to catch her on a day without papercuts, from filling out welfare applications.


She had never been locked up but spent her life - locked down

and locked out.


Knuckles cut up from clipping gates.


She was a survivor in the most beautifully weather-beaten kind of way.


If you saw her through a side eye, you might think she was glowing, but if you looked at her straight, you would see war in her eyes, rage in her hair, and dirt on her hands.


No, her hands were not very pretty, but if you want to be petty, we can talk about the prettiness of the diamond tear drops that drip dropped down her pink cheeks as she stood in the cold air waiting in line to the church pantry, baby sister in arms and book bag on her back, left hand to mouth.


She wasn’t very tall, but her head stood high, looking straight toward her future.


No, she didn’t have pretty hands or expensive clothes. Her torn jeans and oversized coat kept her humble and hopeful, so when the viejita handed her a bag filled with milk and fruit, she was grateful for every bit of community that surrounded her.


Her hands weren’t pretty. They were beautiful.





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