On Midnight Protests


I should learn how to draw clenched fists.

I was never good at drawing
hands. My fingers deformed on
paper; thumbs grew longer than
ring fingers smaller than
indexes. Their beginnings and
ends made no sense to my pen.

I hid hands under shadows and walls,
and gratuitous shrubbery. The fear
of digits had me, for years, cover
male hands with the flowers they held –
once crosses, once wrapped presents, once
sheets – and female hands with the heads
they held – hair curling over fears
and splitting
at their ends.

I should learn how to draw
veins rising above taut brown
skin like ivy on the stone cold walls
I once sat under,
dreaming of them.
I should trace these bulging
streams rising upwards into a hand
that feigns itself a weapon.

I should remember how closed
fists look clenched high
above the head. Elbows leap out of
bodies that have long forgotten
winter and I shudder at their
strength. I should find forms in
the whiteness that rushes out of their
open mouths like fire as they
roar into black nights in unison.

Their fists punch holes in the
air and I think of
how I’ve never seen so many dragons before.
The harrowing ghosts leave their lips
and overcrowd my ears as my own inadequacy numbs
me whole.

I should learn how to draw clenched fists.


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