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Storyteller Hands

Kelsey Colwell

Yosemite in August brought me a man
named Ollie. His blond stubble glinted
in the sun as he studied his callused,
taped, rock-aged hands. He told me,
“Hands should tell a story. Soft
hands reflect a boring life.”
I study my story. White climber’s
chalk flakes in the countless folds.
Cuticles were torn with purpose
from hours spent digging along the sides
of my nails, looking for a quieter mind.
Smiles like serrated knives stuttered
at the ends of chipped pink polish,
whose flakes gleam voodoo spells
to ward off anxious teeth.
My palms are a palm-reader’s
playground. Lines so tangled,
the incense of her studio would cling,
nestle, and call them “home.” The heart
line is a cat’s tail as long as Hippolyta’s
girdle. The life line is stubborn like the sharp
granite that wore my fingerprints into thin,
mauve, rice-sized saucers. Lacing my fingers
and bending one way, then the other,
they crack sharp relief. On the ebony neck
of a violin, they sing as a mother
to her child. Standing on rock, fingers
combing the clouds, they scream strength.