Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Woman With Five Hands

She had five hands, this bible-dark babe next door,
and though some called her "freak",
she was not that. No,
she was an ordinary marvel, much as we are,
us goddesses of the neighborhood--
doing what we will, when left to our own.

Two of her hands, such slender-fingered hands,
such that we all felt a little breathless when she would
smooth her windblown hair back,
were used to do the devil's work--
depending, of course, on which devil's
kids were in school til three, or husband gone
til god knows when, maybe forever--
a devil's work is never done, so they say.

Two of her hands were used to pray,
and when she prayed, the saints themselves sighed
and crossed themselves, forgetting to answer back.
Saint Sebastian no longer felt the sting of the arrows,
and Saint Cecilia lost track of her breathing right in the middle
of her hymn to God.
Prayer can be, should be,
a two way street, and she lit up the lines
at her very first whispered word.

One hand left,
an idle hand perhaps, you'll say.
This hand traced its lineage back to her Romanian high-wire ancestors,
knife-throwers, artisans of every stripe.
She told us once, laughing, that past midnight,
this hand became possessed of magic and did the most astonishing things,
all of its own accord.
I don't know about that,
but what I do know is, she knew how to crook it--
just so--
angled toward true north,
and when she did, on those fine afternoons,
I no longer had a choice, and just like her devils and saints,
I came,
calling her name as if the window weren't wide open
and the seasons, at her bidding, changing gloriously on a dime.
_______

16 comments:

Sioux said...

Such a confiding tone to this. I love the last stanza especially, and also the last three lines of the 3rd stanza. I could go on about other parts...but I won't.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Oh wow, what a great story! I love "us goddesses of the neighborhood". Yes we are! And the breathlessness at the sight of her hands. Simply loved this.

TexWisGirl said...

oy vey!

that is the sexiest back i think i've ever seen in a photo!

Mama Zen said...

This feels like you're whispering a secret, and I'm leaning in closer and closer to hear. Perfection, Shay.

Marian said...

oooh, can you introduce me to her?

hedgewitch said...

I've read this twice and still sure I missed some nuance--layered, lush and full of the contradictions of the heart and soul, yet as great a summoner as its protagonist--who could not want to hear that whisper?

Poet Laundry said...

Ooh you do paint a killer kind of gal. She sounds scary! All that power in those hooks...you know what they say about 'idle hands'. :-)

Cloudia said...

Me like.
Aloha - words fail to describe my appreciation.

HermanTurnip said...

If one could take Shiva as a lover...

Very nicely done. Loved the idea of gods being so enraptured that they simply forgot to answer back. Gave me chills, those words.

Lydia said...

You possess some sort of magic, being able to weave such a tale, Shay. Your mind, your mind works in mysterious ways and thank goddess that you have the genius to write about what it conjures, else you might possibly implode. (Music was great, too)

Daryl said...

all those arms ... must give good hugs

Mr Puddy said...

five hands ? Is she for Real ???
I can tell she can do the best massage for me...tee..heh

Grandmother said...

She's good at being good, so are you, and I like this- poem, photo, woman, hand...

G-Man said...

Loved your Quintessential story FB.
I wonder how many words a minute THAT chick could type?
You are The Goddess of Romance!

~s said...

I knew what the five hands were for just from reading the title.

This is an excellent poem. I especially enjoyed the final stanza. You're so creative.

Margaret said...

Prayer can be, should be,
a two way street, and she lit up the lines
at her very first whispered word.

So many interesting parts and I have to agree, one leans in closer to hear what is next....

Fleetwood Mac originally did "Black Magic Woman!" Ha! Love it.