-Riddhi Verma 11 AICE R

I mourn in a motel on a Monday midnight,
remembering a time when each movement of my arms
wasn’t weighed down by the sediments on these hands;
these hands that have traveled to places unmapped, unimagined, unfelt until arrival–
to places of rust and blood and dirt and pain.
If you knew where these hands have been, the things they’ve seen,
where they’ve been tied up and where they’ve been freed,
you would understand why I never touch you.
Why it takes every ounce of my energy to pick myself up and dust these hands off.
And every time I dust them they feel heavier, not lighter,
except when I pick up the lighter and drown the past in a bender.

To lose the sense of touch, numbed by the unshakeable soreness,
to never be able to allow these hands near a heart–
your pure heart, your skin, your soft skin, your hair, your silky hair;
to know that if these hands touched the springtime dermis
it would rot, and shrivel like the skin of an old man bound for hell.
For the motel is dark, but not darker than the soot on these hands –
the hands these hands have shaken, the business these hands have dwelled in or the time these hands have worked in. Life would be easier if the ghosts of the past did not
stick to us like we were bathed in superglue. Time would move faster if the weight of it all did not chain it to the ground. These hands would be lighter if the dirt could be washed off.
But today I mourn because I realise–

They must fall off.

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