My mother’s hands are fragile,
brushing against a cool and delicate teacup
as she passes you the milk, watchfully.
Sunday afternoons with cups of chamomile,
splashing down our throats like the smooth memories they hold.
Touching her chilled hand,
knowing strength is embedded in the lines that make skin weathered and weak.
Intricate designs on the cups,
but I always chose the plain blue one,
because I wanted to sip these moments with attention to the detail
of her voice and her fingers picking apart her sandwich,
layers of experience she was spilling into my mouth.
Love didn’t have to be designed with vines and flowers
growing over each other,
competing for room,
love carried on as simple as the pastel blue china
in front of me.
My father’s hands are powerful,
controlling the room with a wash of his arm,
making me feel safe and captured with a flick of his hand.
My hand wraps around the ripples in his fingers.
His whole hand can devour mine,
as I grab onto him so tightly his hand blushes at my excitement.
He can silence the room from the control of his fingertips,
his power is in his presence,
shooting out of his words, his eyes, his movements.
His aura is persuasive,
as if hands could make people feel something,
as if they could change people’s minds,
as if hands could change the world.
The crevices between his fingers
could captivate and convince any room
of the importance of his words.
My mother’s hands are gentle.
Thin waves pass over them,
leaving them refreshed and lightweight.
My father’s hands are tough,
feeling the sandy, scratchy surface of a bag of sugar,
collapsing into softness when you squeeze it.
My mother’s hands are emotional.
Her steady hands become hot when she boils over,
from too much hot water in my grandmother’s teapot,
her heavy clenched fist could cause a tsunami.
My father’s hands are stable.
Anger cannot travel to his fingertips,
his shaking hands only know low tide.
My mother’s hands are cautious.
Careful strokes are all she can paint,
her clarity can be muddled with a drop of milk.
My father’s hands are daring.
Wavy movements and wave-inducing ideas,
he needs rough exfoliants to reach the raw of his fingertips.
And my hands are made of their fingers intertwined,
a recipe of ebbing emotions
sometimes cool to the touch
and sometimes hot enough to burn the roof of your mouth.
Sometimes I rummage the shore, destroying the beach
and sometimes I spill over lightly like a calm tide.
My hands are hers,
my hands are his,
my hands are mine.