FREE VERSE POEM
MARY CROCKETT HILL
DEAR LEFT HAND
you have wiped up more milk
than you spilled, you have waved
like a ghost goodbye (goodbye
shoe, goodbye ribbon, goodbye old man
who roamed the same street for decades but
nobody ever saw with both open eyes)--
you are less fist than palm, and I love
how you cradle my forehead when right hand
writes, how you pet the tender
nub where tears sometimes burble and spout.
Thank you for scratching right elbow, for endlessly
tossing the dog’s gnawed stick.
I should tell you my own inky secrets,
but how could I, left hand, as you
are earless and I only speak
with my mouth?
Occasionally, I pause
to ask if what I just said was true,
and that was not. I’m sorry.
I have many ways of speaking
mouth-less words—great inconstancies
of meanings, clanging bells, castanets, wind
that rumbas in and out of its own sock.
Like you, they exist
in a field where nothing wanted grows, but
where that which isn’t wanted
is sometimes blue and
Mary Crockett Hill is an Appalachian poet and novelist hailing from the hinterlands of southwestern Virginia. In poetry, she is the author of A Theory of Everything and If You Return Home with Food, and in fiction, How She Died, How I Lived. Mary's poetry has appeared in The Paris Review, Electric Literature, Best of the Net, and Poetry Daily, among other venues. She teaches at Roanoke College and edits Roanoke Review.