Hands To Behold

By Debbie Petrovsky

I love my hands
They are more precious to me now as I begin to lose function.
Pain has brought them into focus, demanding my attention.
My hands are full of beauty and disfigurement; health and illness.

Unable to open a lid, still capable of a sweet caress.
Will I still love my hands when they are useless?
Or hide them as they shrivel and ache.

My legs have always been long and slender.
They walked up 4,000 ft mountains, swam in turquoise water, and knelt down beside my garden beds. I’m glad they had the chance to walk down the aisle, pedal a bicycle, and run with my children.
What’s next? What else will I love and loose?

I held my father’s hand when I was three and again at forty-three when he lay dying from cancer. After decades, our hands were united again.
Now I walk arm n‘ arm with my sister.

The distance narrows between my sons and me
Former ways of being disappear.
Every visit we poke more and more holes in these once solid boundaries. ALS necessitates touch and beckons for closeness.
Now I walk arm n‘ arm with my sons.

Sister, brother, my children, go run, explore, follow your dreams.
For now, I have my own hand to hold.
I cradle my right in my left, just the right comforting fit.
When you’re done exploring, let’s hold hands while we still can.

This Poem Features In: