Poetry and Poetics
THE HANDS BY PAUL DELVAUX:
A FAMILY PORTRAIT
In the picture she studies her knuckles,
the thick stub of the index finger.
The plain of Mars is hollow
indicating the force of life is lacking.
The fingers curl in on themselves
afraid of their lusterless prophecy.
The blonde sister in front holds
her hands out for analysis.
The little finger set low on the palm
shows she distrusts herself;
it crooks to Apollo revealing dishonesty.
Her thumb bends in—she trusts no one.
They face out, their eyes on their hands;
behind, a brother embraces another,
his left arm limp around her hips.
She poses, her hand curled on his shoulder,
dispassionately, she watches as he
suckles at her breast, his eyes shut.
The other in the bowler
holds his left hand in front
his fingers spread open to the world.
Joined to his right shoulder she curls
her hand like grosgrain ribbon scraped
with a blade hiding androgyny intent.
In the left front, he holds his brush
with the long thin fingers
of his left hand.
His eyes are turned inward
entranced in the mirror
of his own painting.
© by Helen Ruggieri
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