Lots of old photos have been passing around my family these days, some I don’t remember ever being taken, except there I am: a laughing baby, a smiling teen, a young woman making funny faces at her babies, most recently a middle-aged woman in a pink sweatshirt crouched next to her dad, both smiling up at the photo taker.
Oh my face. You’ve been with me through every moment of my life, never questioning any feeling or how to express it. Immediately and by instinct you pull yourself into smiles, tears, laughter, anger, excitement. The older I get the more I appreciate you and all we have been through together, and the fact that no matter how you change, you are the face that everyone who loves me loves.
(Excerpt from) Ode to My Hands, by Tim Seibles
Five-legged pocket spiders, knuckled
starfish, grabbers of forks, why
do I forget that you love me:
your willingness to button my shirts,
tie my shoes—even scratch my head!
which throbs like a traffic jam, each thought
leaning on its horn. I see you
waiting anyplace always
at the ends of my arms—for the doctor,
for the movie to begin, for
freedom—so silent, such
patience! testing the world
with your bold myopia: faithful,
ready to reach out at my
softest suggestion, to fly up
like two birds when I speak, two
brown thrashers brandishing verbs
like twigs in your beaks, lifting
my speech the way pepper springs
the tongue from slumber.
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