[33] Hands, Sitara Gnanaguru

Wrinkles embedded elephant-
deep into palms yielding
tributaries of age

Fine lines etched onto outstretched
fingers: taut horsehair on a violin’s bow

Skin waxy like a
waning red maple leaf
kissed by morning mist

Worn away by work and worry, white
ashen knuckles clash with her
canvas of brown:
banded and bangled with gold

Uprooted at sixteen;
motherland slipping through her fingers,
childhood snatched right
from her hennaed hands turned
dirty from replanting her
family tree on foreign soil

A hand roams

Writhing from her scrawny wrist,
restless fingers
grasp and knead your shoulder;
coaxing you into tradition

Clinging desperately to her culture while
armed with love and an ancient wisdom,
she suddenly squeezes your arm—
twists her trunk to extend a branch but
no flowers escape her
bilingual mouth

She speaks louder through her hands

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