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My hands are old.
They have written the universe
and back
twice,
grown cultures of mysteries
in drawers and test tubes,
forged sentences strong as steel
and lightweight like titanium.
My fingertips have dogeared
the pages of the end of the world,
soothed dangers with phrases
pulled from the eyetooth
of living with raging winds.

They have caressed the twilight,
shadowboxed with rain
and harnessed the sun
like runaway horses.
They have pointed fingers
at gods and formed fists
at senates of republics.
They are calloused.
Pricked with needles.
Burned in pursuit of flavors.
Corrupted by muscle memory.
Split open by nights
weaponizing expression.

They are covered in lines,
lives marking territories
as they sidestep and shuffle,
trying to fit in a single lifetime.
Books in the blood.
Rousing speeches under
the skin. And poetry, always—
flesh, spirit, bone.

My hands are older than me.
Been to more places and
understand more than I
can ever try to give names to.
I look at them in the harsh light
of this church and see
all the ways they are faded,
and stained, and wrinkled,
and tired,
and full of resistance
against being ordinary,
against looking immaculate
and unscathed at the cost
of never knowing fire.
.

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