Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Your hands

When you were born you dove into the world, hands up. You tore through me, tumbling into the light, clenching your little bloody fists.

The midwife remarked on the size of your hands. You take after your papa -- big Montana hands run in the family. Hands that can row a boat, swing a hammer, grip the reins of a bucking bronc. Hands that can also tie an intricate fly, roll dough for perfect pie crust, strum a mandolin.

As I nursed you when you were two days old I was startled to feel a trickle down my side. Was it spit up? Pee? No, just the liquid touch of your gray wrinkled hand caressing my bare skin. I didn’t know a touch could feel that light, that sweet.

Now you are three months old. I love your knuckle dimples, your chubby little boy thumbs, the pinpricks of your fingernails. You tug my hair, pull my necklace, clutch my shirt. You try to fit your whole fist in your mouth.

You grab my breast when you nurse. Fingertips push, knead, tap. You stroke my belly with the backs of your fingers, a bit clumsy, uncoordinated, but with a kind of animal grace. You are exploring your world, the landscape of my body. Eyes closed, you read me like Braille. Eyes open, you gaze up at me and grip my finger. We play, fingers intertwining. Our own language of touch.

You relax your grip as your eyes grow heavy. I hold you close, rubbing circles on your little back. Your eyes close, arms limp, palms open to sleep.

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