Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Donald Wellman, "Hands"
When he reached out to receive me, I recognized
his hands as mine. Short fingers and square palms.
I had seen similar hands in a photo of a mestiza mother by Tina Modotti.
The woman cradled her brown skinned child’s bottom,
as if elements
of a Mayan glyph.
Oblong breasts pillowed his face.
I’ve slept on the lawn at Tulum
and heard the drone of Ah Muzen Cab.
Fermented honey inspired the poets of Heorot
and the poets of the Talamanca and Penobscot.
In a crevice within a garden wall
in Liberia, Melipone costarricense produce
treasured miel de jicote.
Beekeeper gods sing to a honey pot, held like a bass drum, Mol Ko Chi’.
Of bearded jaguars, it is said, many ancestors display
a pencil thin mustache. Of native American square hands, she wrote
in her ethnography of California Mission Indians:
bad Indians who beat their children,
tender Indians who cried from fear,
seeking a source in caves and mountain tops.
They fled to survive, as I have, inwardly, across the river bottom.
A cloud, melanin pigmentation on the retina is also common.
(written in response to Bad Indians by Deborah A. Miranda, Heyday, 2013)