poem 4/17/10 – William Carlos Williams’ Hands

NaPoWriMo 2010 readwritepoem.org April Challenge Day 17 – write a poem about one of the four elements.

William Carlos Williams’ Hands

deliver a squalling red baby
from the placental flood
press shut the frozen eyes
that once blinked up at the rain
brush a child’s dampened hair
back from her shining forehead
+++– good, the fever’s broke

the poorest clients
offer silently
a tar bucket
Or a celluloid bowl
the water within
cold clear and bracing
your hirsute hands and wrists
slip into the water from a well
just outside the back window
+++– look at those apples ripening

washing, bathing
readying your hands again
precise as one would a messiah’s feet
as drops drip back like a wearied clock
then pat them dry
on white linen
or earthy gingham
+++– she’ll be on her feet tomorrow

and once home
set down the valise
at the oak desk
allow a breath
have your hand take up pen
to tell us again
how Ulysses set his barque
out upon the waters
of the world


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