Lake Effect, Spring 2009, Volume 13: History of the Hand

Harry Humes


​History of the Hand

Sometimes it is all behind the hand,
pigeons and African violets,
people sitting on front stoops,
steam and rattle of passing coal trains,
also choirs and graveyard,
all of it there by pulse and tendon,
even the ox-heart cherry tree
half dead but heavy with fruit,
you could climb up on the garage roof next to it,
lean into the tree and pick your fill,
their deep red, the stems, a world
of sweetness,
                        but look,
the hand seems bored, the hand
is righting itself like a ship rolling back from a tilt
into an ordinary evening in July,
and there’s a neighbor burning his brush pile,
pushing the flames in and in with his rake,
and that way smoke has of always finding you out.