Poem By Nikolai Tarasuk

Two hands that once in their palms
Held the world I no longer know:
Gnarled, distorted phalanges augment
The natural road maps of my life;
Prominent furrows and runaway lines
That crisscross, ray and merge
With concentric ovals and odd symbols,
Like faded constellations,
Evoke mystery and wonder!
Across the millennia hands like these,
Sometimes shackled, have bled in sacrifice
To build monumental wonders, to serve despots,
Often to perish in bondage;
These powerful hands have crushed enemies,
And have held back floodgates of anguish;
Hands like these have touched the weak and dying,
Blessing departed creatures great and small;
these crudely sculptured hands that know
Of love and tenderness—how on earth
Could they once have held the world? 11-21-97
Lyndonville, New York

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