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"'The Artist's Hand' is a tribute to sculptor Mark di Suvero, whose work may be seen at Chrissy Field in San Francisco and adjacent to AT&T Park." —D. A. Powell

The Artist's Hand

D. A. Powell, 1963




for Mark di Suvero Nailbeds pink, deeper pink toward the cuticles,
      cuticles a little rough, but clean.
                              Obsessively clean.
A little yellowing under the edges of the nails,
                              the fingers boney, bowing, and large knuckles
where skin bunches like roses puckered on fabric.
                              A hand in need of moisturizer.
A sanitized hand. A worried hand? Hands don’t worry.
Spots that change. One that elongates into a question mark.
                              Well, hasn’t that hand done something?
                                         It is a form of making when it makes.
But mostly the hand is an idle thing
      & therefore available for scrutiny
unlike the artist himself, his stillness a form of motion,
                              intent upon a subject so close to his heart
                              that he must hold it out, away from all other limbs
                              and parts of the body, to see it as itself, a hand,
agent of the mind and yet separate from all thought.
                              All his effort goes into the hand, and through the hand
                                         makes visible the scale of imagination, so that
                              what’s left is not the hand
                                         but its testament.

Copyright © 2013 by D. A. Powell. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on October 8, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Copyright © 2013 by D. A. Powell. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on October 8, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

D. A. Powell

D. A. Powell

D. A. Powell was born in Albany, Georgia on May 16, 1963.

by this poet

poem
        "Your gang's done gone away."
                —The 119th Calypso, Cat's Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Something seems to have gnawed that walnut leaf.

You face your wrinkles, daily, in the mirror.
But the wrinkles are so slimming, they rather flatter.

Revel in the squat luck of that unhappy tree,
poem
and yet we think that song outlasts us all:  wrecked devotion
the wept face of desire, a kind of savage caring that reseeds itself and grows in clusters

oh, you who are young, consider how quickly the body deranges itself
how time, the cruel banker, forecloses us to snowdrifts white as god's own ribs



what
poem

I have had to learn the simplest things
last. Which made for difficulties...
—Charles Olson


We know from accounts of the judgment of Paris how Love took first: 
the apple burnished by—it turns out—her own husband, working the bellows,
forging to Discord's specifications, her