Bill Corbett

My Hand

The one I write with,
wipe with, eat with,
thumbed rides, smoked,
saluted (in greeting and fun,
not in the military) with,
shake, throw, reach, point, 	
pull up my zipper with.
Hand of the whoa sign,
peace sign, middle finger,
hand I swear with,
hand of my talking gestures
cords of rigid scar
snake up pinky and 
ring finger, aftermath
of Duypreton's Contracture,
tissue braided like rope
pulling fingers into a fist
hand I hit with (if I ever
hit anyone) until excavated,
removed then closed:
one hundred something stitches
leaving the third finger,
ringless like the rest, a bridge.
Now in my left palm
tissue braids a cable
torquing the ring finger
peaked like a roof.
Let it go. Beckett did.
About Reagan and Thatcher,
who share the affliction,
I donít know. Duypreton
himself acted on his coachman
in whose two hands
he discovered the condition.
Scalpel across both palms
severed his tightening tissue
and the hands, no longer 
his to command, collapsed
like puppets. Not that I 
can do as I please with mine,
lifeline trespassed, sore after 
light work, hard to warm
in winter and stiff every morning,
The hand I wave goodbye with.