The hands die last

The hands die last intent on phantom tasks.

The wheel-chaired woman knits and purls away
her final days in wordless concentration.

Another beads her absent rosary.

The man an edifice of bones in bed
measures out his ghost white spread with ghost white fingers.
“How wide is it?” he asks.

What is he making—a sail, a robe?

Hands that first clutched a mother’s breast have come to this:
go off in tangents in the air weaving secret messages.

She hands me phantom stones or crumbs.
“Here take this.”
“Here take this.”

The hands die last.


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