Not all fingers hold a nail
waiting for the hammer.
Not all take up white thread
and transform it to lace.
Even fewer pick up the pen
and offer words to a lover’s
body where it is so beautifully dark
as we lay in the sunlit field of grasses,
wildflowers, olive trees,
a gathering of life.
The hands have their reasons
unknown to the heart,
a needed touch,
the kindness of another skin.
The fingers have their own aims,
to make beauty, to touch softly
something to live by.
But then I remember that sometimes they lie
when from out of the dark corridors
of some mind
they sign a writ of death.
I remember the musician who had his fingers broken
for creating songs his country didn’t want.
The same is true for other lands.
As for my people, a government of hands
entreat for their land, pen and ink like blood
wrote away each stand
of ancient forest, the waters
we drank gone with the grand larceny
of fingers holding nothing
but a pen and a bottle of ink,
our stolen indigo, dark as blood.
In the distance between hand and soul
lies the history of this continent.
So now I write this poem.
Some of us have to tell
what has been done,
what they will do.

Hogan, Linda. A History of Kindness. United States, Torrey House Press, 2020.