The Artist's Hand
for Mark di Suvero
Nailbeds pink, deeper pink toward the cuticles,
cuticles a little rough, but 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.