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My Hands Poem


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The Hands I Stare At

By Wayne Jackson 1950-1989

The hands I stare at when I type are winter worn. The left hand has a white bandaid on the next to the last finger, and the birdy finger has a brown bandaid. The index finger of the right hand has a bruised spot under the nail which has nearly grown out. The next to the last finger bulges out into a shape as big as a thumb. That's from where, SIX YEARS AGO, Flop Crawford hit me with a five pound hammer. I spare no time in saying that Flop Crawford is still a motherfucker.
And now, across the index finger of the right hand on top of the second knuckle is a new callous. It's the first time I've ever had callouses on top of my fingers. A man like me is used to having them on the bottoms of his fingers. Dues Paid. But to have callouses on the tops? It's something that I need to think about a day or two. After all, that imaginary line between "I don't want to" and "I ain't gonna" just has to be drawn somewhere.
When I was a kid it was easier. When I was a kid "I ain't gonna" meant that if you tried to make me I could vomit on you. Things were easier then.

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