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The Hands’ Testament


The face veils and gates
and the glance will enharbor,

but the thumb and forefinger
could give it away entire

but will never

but remain, calmly clasped
and “therein lies.” It’s light out. And I, nearer

No, you knew what inner

We have many versions

that require silence

differs less than one percent
                                       (I rest my case)
                                       (as I was blessed)
                                       it is
the shimmer in the hybrid; the hand is an island
oddly endless; we are it.


Cole Swensen
The Book of a Hundred Hands
University of Iowa Press


Copyright © 2005 by Cole Swensen.
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission.

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