A poem by Laurie Kuntz.
A man once told me I had beautiful hands,
I look at them now, try to imagine
what he saw that year I turned twenty
gave in to his attentions
without giving anything up.
Staring hard into the past’s blinded eye
are airy hands, smooth skin, slim wrists,
a time when I thought I could hold the world
and get away with it. Since then, these hands
chapped and lined from seasons’ wrath
have gnarled mercy into regret –
memories will never be as telling as moments
alone with a forbidden man –
time will never seem so wicked
as that year a man took me into his furnished room,
asked nothing but to let my hands save
him from what he yearned for,
while outside the four-pane window
linden trees were in early bloom,
and afterwards everything I fingered
was awe-pink, like skin across an open palm
able to hold the untouchable.