I frowned over the soft zodiac of brown wrinkles
attempting to squint clarity

into my palm’s cracked plate
as if it might be a map to someplace

important. I, too, wanted to disappear
into others but was disappointingly singular.

Brandishing an encyclopedia,
I was stunned to learn along our personal

milky way that there were names for every pleat
& channel, every mount of flesh.

Fate line. Sun line. Money line.
Heart line. Head line. Life line.

My life line looked past repair
A coaxial cable snipped, frayed.

Since my quilted palm was my mother’s responsibility,
I asked her what these alien letters meant.

Every origami starts with a valley or mountain fold,
she said. Yours is the mountain. Yours is a life of work.

Your hand, she said, takes the shape
of the last thing spirit reaches for in its last darkness.

From Black Steel Magnolias In the Hour of Chaos Theory. Copyright © 2018 by James Cagney. Published by Nomadic Press. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.