My grandmother’s hands

by | May 28, 2021

In a fading photograph, they sit
Newly-wed still.

They pause,
hovering in a chant of numbers
wavering into silence, 
and words slip
out of reach
一粒,   两粒,   渐渐溜走
like grains of rice through parted fingers
until cupped hands left almost barren
wait only to receive a voice:

it trickles in.
Sentimental drops
一滴,   两滴,   不停流进
fill an open embrace.

But those hands have sown the fields
that raised my mother,
commanded the earth –
stilled what shook in uncertain winds.
Yet leaves unread
brushed grasping hands,
once bore the weight of oceans
and once cradled me.

My grandmother’s fingers mark
the rosary beads, one by one
动着,   动着.
She prays just above a whisper
“谢了, 谢了”
and I watch them spin webs of faith
from devotional air.

阿妈,   苦了你
sitting in infinite folds
of lines unwritten,
when you leave them open
they wave. ∎


Words by Ceri Holloway. Art by Grisel Jayapurna.