“Not About Anyone’s Hands” by JoLee G. Passerini

JoLee G. Passerini


This poem is not about anyone’s hands
holding a book or a steering wheel or winding a clock
or steady as the dark beyond my headlights.

Trees sweep past. Houses are bulk and shadow
except for a light that shows where the kitchen is. People asleep
don’t hear sorrows piling, cumulous, behind the rotting barn.

Even the air has nothing in it. This poem is not
about neighbors, or what it means to stop at a house
because all the lights are on and that means someone’s sick.

Some people driving home know just what’s in the dark:
dogs, coyotes, cows that shift against other cow legs and rumps,
tails winding down like broken metronomes

until even the horses are dreaming, uninterrupted green.
In this poem, the wife’s hands let go of everything. Autumn glides by
outside the frost-starred, shatter-starred windshield glass.

The driveway’s long. The husband stands, watching the stars
fall doubled into the pond. He doesn’t say anything.
He doesn’t see what her arms will carry. The dogs howl.

Some things are nobody’s fault. Get the broom out.
Think of it as a waltz, dance with it, and sweep.

from Rattle #26, Winter 2006


JoLee G. Passerini: “I’m moving to Florida, to a place my husband discovered while racing solar cars. So, for the first time in many years, I can’t say that I teach at the University of Alabama. It’s exciting. My poetry books like Florida. They like ibises and the woodpeckers nesting in the maple. Wagoner, Kunitz, Naomi Shihab Nye, Whitman, Mary Oliver—all these folks, alive and dead, lounge in the yard, as the breeze blows in from the Atlantic.”

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