A Tribute to Hands by Ruth Reno

Is it our weakness that we mindfully appreciate something only after it is gone?


Mighty servants to moods of the mind and passions of the heart,

they engrave life’s story, real or imaginary.

They carry a powerful punch for violence or justice, fist in red-knuckled madness,

push away angst, raise in exhortation, shake a welcome, or pull love close.

Placed on a body, the heat of their palms touches to the soul of a heart.

Tender, feathery, firm, or forceful, their fingers loosen muscles and soothe bodies.

They flail at surprise or panic, fold or grasp in prayer and praise, capable of giving and taking.

They twist and turn, pinch and punch, open doors, wield products, tease, and cajole.

They bedazzle with rings and bangles, ruby and gold.

Five-digit combinations on each hand sign a world of language.

They respond to use:  smooth as bone china or tough like raw leather.

Honest to aging: lined, thin skinned, blue raised veins and crooked fingers.

When wounded or gone their function and purpose is honored with prosthetics.

Hands, we lift our glass in tribute!


She held the pen in her hand with long, slender fingers, and wrote for me.