We are what our hands can do.
The silent voice of hands, like the dance of the
language of Sign, speaks more than words can say.
In tomorrow's Museum of Hands one could view them all:
A Hindu hand reserved only for eating, not-me hands of solitary
self-pleasure where fantasy reigns, probing nose-picking paws,
hot hands of the petty thief and the nail-bitten clammy
cold hands of those plagued by vexation.
In the Hall of Honor would be displayed the compassionate
hands of volunteers who massage the feet of hospice patients.
The delicate well trained hands that wrestled with a
quadruple by-pass all morning, hold a bone china
cup of English tea in the afternoon.
A pianist, whose gifted fingers ran an eight hour marathon
over the ivories practicing for a concert, unwinds by
dipping his hands in ice water, wondering what its all
about while listening to Segovia's Bach cantata.
A carpenter, whose sinewy, callused hands gripped a hammer,
driving nails straight into two by fours, framing a
house, downs a Budweiser as the setting
sun casts shadows between the rafters.
A blind mechanic who has learned to re-build
transmissions, breaks for lunch and happily chats
with his girlfriend on his braille cell phone.
What did Michaelangelo's hands look like?
The hands of evil, hands of murderers, child molesters, and greedy
crooks of every kind, hands of cockroaches with human faces.
The Heil Hitler salute,
the hand that signaled the bombs to be dropped at Hiroshima
and Nagasaki or gave the order to bomb Pearl Harbor and
the hand of OSB in the 9/11 attack.
Ordinary hands that do mundane jobs, a yawning bus
driver steering you home after work, a barber, who
patiently snips and combs away long afternoons,
stubby fingers of the German butcher, who trims
the fat off your prime rib, the battered and bruised
fists of the fighter, hoping to go another round, a
fisherman returning to port followed by a flock of
screeching seagulls, hands covered in fish scales and
sea weed, an elderly supplicant sitting in church having
recited her prayers, sits with folded hands and waits.
Milton P. Ehrlich