Talking Hands

You remember
how you'd fold
your fist into a head
and mouth,
lipstick circling
thumb and forefinger
for loose conversation.

You remember
and do it still,
but don't make faces
that speak or smile
and make jokes
with one another.

It is, these days,
a way to mine
the depth of numbness;
a way to quietly concuss
a chair or bed
with each slice
of the middle finger
across the skin:

a way you make certain
pain never diminishes.

Jan McLaughlin

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