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The Touch Analysis

Author: poem of Anne Sexton Type: poem Views: 4

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For months my hand was sealed off

in a tin box. Nothing was there but the subway railings.

Perhaps it is bruised, I thought,

and that is why they have locked it up.

You could tell time by this, I thought,

like a clock, by its five knuckles

and the thin underground veins.

It lay there like an unconscious woman

fed by tubes she knew not of.

The hand had collapse,

a small wood pigeon

that had gone into seclusion.

I turned it over and the palm was old,

its lines traced like fine needlepoint

and stitched up into fingers.

It was fat and soft and blind in places.

Nothing but vulnerable.

And all this is metaphor.

An ordinary hand -- just lonely

for something to touch

that touches back.

The dog won't do it.

Her tail wags in the swamp for a frog.

I'm no better than a case of dog food.

She owns her own hunger.

My sisters won't do it.

They live in school except for buttons

and tears running down like lemonade.

My father won't do it.

He comes in the house and even at night

he lives in a machine made by my mother

and well oiled by his job, his job.

The trouble is

that I'd let my gestures freeze.

The trouble was not

in the kitchen or the tulips

but only in my head, my head.

Then all this became history.

Your hand found mine.

Life rushed to my fingers like a blood clot.

Oh, my carpenter,

the fingers are rebuilt.

They dance with yours.

They dance in the attic and in Vienna.

My hand is alive all over America.

Not even death will stop it,

death shedding her blood.

Nothing will stop it, for this is the kingdom

and the kingdom come.


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