Elegy of Hands

by Gbenga Adesina

It is that my hands
are also my father’s hands,

and where the lines meet on the palm
both of us have met

and sat, each with his own silence
not speaking.

It is not that we are fighting
It is the shape of love we have come to.

He keeping to his script of being dead
And I, doing the pose of the living in retaliation,

It is the shape of love we have come to.
On my way to the train this morning,

I cut through a small field of elms
and birches and thought I saw from afar

a white cluster, a crown of egrets
that had landed on the ground.

But really it was a cemetery.
It was as though the gravestones were holding hands.

It was the kind of thing that would have made him laugh:
gravestones holding hands.

I say this to him as
he sits beside me

And yes, he laughs.
He reaches out his hands toward me.

I pretend to not see the hands
I keep to the pose of the living.

Published on June 9, 2021