Parable of Hands

by: Julia Bouwsma

Where his fingers grasped mine,
where his wrist curled sideways,

I came alive.

An expanse of paper gleamed
Like desert flattened sand—

letters bloomed thick lobes
surviving in spite of
(because of) the glare

the way tiny cactuses come
to their growing forms.

I drank water
and I memorized words
and I practiced all the turns

he desired my young limbs to learn.

I walked the desert with one shoe on

and one foot stayed soft
and one foot burned.