Word/ For Word # 2

Cole Swensen


The Hand that Caresses
                                                  after Alphonso Lingis

                                  Glean sheet
that is soft and sees
gliding just above the surface
constructs a second skin of close attention
                                                                                  The hand cannot tire in the face
of another, a hand floats or hovers
detached from the wrist, my hand fits your face precisely What recognizes
the suffering of the other is a movement in one's hand.
The man on the balcony
reaches out to point at the plane coming in to land.






The Hand as Harbor


That would be the holding hand
                                                      so I'll stay here. And of the trees
full forth on the sea, a hand is every one. And while we're planning the future

A vague starfish watermarked into the letter, a starfish burning on the window.
For every ship that went down, they'd speak of the hands--"All hands on deck"
and "All hands were lost." "I made a ghost of all my hands" watching
the walls rock, we'd read the lists in the morning paper.




[contributors' notes]