Copper Hands

Your copper hands dozing off on the sheets.
I saw them then. I see them now.
Your nails, glossy red polish, always impeccably filed.
No smears, crossovers, nor chips.
Strong hands, kind hands always at work,
Scribbling legal opinions at dawn,
Stacking lunch boxes next,
Rubbing my angry belly. I used to be your drum.
No wrinkles just yet.
Only the pipelines of your maritime strength.
All your body a tender stump laid down,
yellowing, but beautiful still.

Your thighs,
(La cuerpa – says Luisa)
Sensual at the knees, glimmering from the oils you rubbed with diligence
After the daily downpour.
Your feet, over-fed half-moons to me so rebellious. So indifferent to your bureaucratic elegance.
Your breasts, I saw those, too.
Every morning, sagging lightly
Above your generous belly, your Chinese navel.
Your belly the same for twenty-five years.
An achievement of womanhood. Impossible.
Time stops at your belly.
An ageless adulthood you briskly perfumed, panty-hosed, and high-heeled.
Always knowing.
Always leaving the house at the same godless hour.
Always waking to the same ring.

And though time is running out for me
And I don’t understand this ride,
Nor wish to be in it—Frankly—
You are still life full. Even when dead.
And when you went into the furnace,
Clad with your medals, your iron reputation,
Your face a canvas I had carefully splotched
The friar wig (I did my best),
Surrounded by those whom you
With resolution
Tried to shepherd out of incompetence
Sometimes with an electric prod
I could still see
The hands, the thighs, the breasts, the
belly, Even the graying groin, Always the
Always here.

2022 · REFLECTING · 2022