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Your Hands / Tus Manos
by Maria Elena B. Mahler


Hands born from earth, magic clay molded
Your soul, insatiable rain fired your breath.

Hands curled by maté and dough taught me to
Give without exception, without deceit, without justification.

Hands cracked by cold brine
Never protesting a plea: what for?

Hands aware only of the rhythm of rye and clouds
Sprinkling nectar over land where they were born.

Today I miss them.
Yet dry and callused,

To me they're soft and tender
Like the seasons first plums

Your hands picked
While mine juggled the basket,

Hands tirelessly gripped the hoe
While mine anxiously gathered potatoes,

Hands bravely inside the hive
While mine barely caught the honey,

Hands that grafted cherry branches
While mine balanced the chair,

Hands that ploughed hard soil
While mine selected the seeds,

Hands that fixed holes in wooden fences
While mine played with hammer and nails.

Those hands that carry more than a century
Support in silence your sore and tired body

Hands that only join together to
Honor the stars with your grateful soul,

While mine, traveled and sophisticated,
Ache today from missing yours.


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