Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Iraq War Grief Daily Witness Day 40

A man covers his head with his bloodstained hands as he grieves outside a hospital morgue while waiting to claim the body of his brother killed in Monday's mortar attack in Baghdad March 13, 2007. The attack killed two persons and wounded 15 others, police said.


A Hand

by Jane Hirshfield

A hand is not four fingers and a thumb.

Nor is it palm and knuckles,

not ligaments or the fat's yellow pillow,

not tendons, star of the wristbone, meander of veins.

A hand is not the thick thatch of its lines

with their infinite dramas,

nor what it has written,

not on the page,

not on the ecstatic body.

Nor is the hand its meadows of holding, of shaping—

not sponge of rising yeast-bread,

not rotor pin's smoothness,

not ink.

The maple's green hands do not cup

the proliferant rain.

What empties itself falls into the place that is open.

A hand turned upward holds only a single, transparent question.

Unanswerable, humming like bees, it rises, swarms, departs.