She sees

She sees what your hands have touched, what they have moved and placed and held and discarded. You never touch your own skin. Your hand passes right through it. What if it does not. You touch your clothes, running pointer finger and thumb together and drawing them along the edges of fabric, your cuffs, the seams at the tops of your breast pockets, the hem of your dress or your coat. You smooth rumples in the flat stretches of fabric out before you to eliminate traces. Wear is insurmountable. She sees your hands fight the inexorable building up of wrinkles, silt, salt, frays, stains, flakes, rubbing them out, clawing at the gravel, smoothing incessantly. You run your hands along door frames, up and down, pressing the entrances to apartments away from you, sliding them into the sea, into the shadows, or out from the throw of street lamps. You smooth the sand on the beach, bury cigarette butts with your fingers, and fill in footprints with scoops of silky sand. Wear is soft and pliable, does not disappear, but can be divested of cause. You run your fingertips along the metal frame of a vanity mirror. You press your pointer finger and thumb together into a small square angle and slide them down the cool damp surface. The mirror is fogged over and nothing is visible beyond the fluorescent lamp over the mirror which shines directly down to your hands over the rim of the sink. A pale apparition dissolved into steam pushes away from the mirror, your hands behind your buttocks touch the glossy tile, each tiny square the size of your fingertips. Your fingertips correspond to the spots left on the tile in fine silky silt. Your hands fold across the flat bodice of your smock, smoothing it as the water bloused it outward, crossing them briefly, mummified, afloat, and placing them palm down over your breasts and pressing the stack of papers against your skin. Water does not stress or wear. Water and silt cast and disseminate your hands across the city all into the night. They cover her eyes, they touch her face, and wash over it.

Critical Response:

« | »