Kimberly’s Hands. Kaci Skiles Laws



Kimberly’s Hands


It’s late, but
there is always time 
by the subway.


Kimberly dabs her thumb in concealer 
to rid me of my dark marks;
I can’t sleep anymore.


A man offers me a bluetab,
to wait for the ecstasy footswitch; I decline, 
the subway dashes, her hair reaches, 


she continues to fill in the depressions 
with porcelain, and my face eats a palette 
of rhinestones.


It’s late. I’m turning thirty one;
there is supposed to be a pivot. 
The street—a canvas. The subway—
where we leave suggestions of our youth. 


Like a modern day Hansel and Gretel, 
we slough off traces of glamour
toward home, for the curious raccoons, 


until the city hag decides to char,
her cackles rest in cinder and ash.


Kimberly’s fingertips keep pace;
we are statues chiseling out our own 
cheekbones.


She concentrates and it’s better when
she doesn’t speak or ask why—


why we start letting ourselves forgo love,
why we ever stop scratching for connections,
why the glitter sticks only in places
we wish it wouldn’t.


Toothed One


For the last time,
I mistake dragonfly nymphs
for silverfish and earwigs. 


I come to understand an
incomplete metamorphosis
and erratic patterns;


I try to imagine years living
an aquatic life,
the hush of the waterbed womb,
halting the last hurry of months 
of hunting and being hunted.


Would it be a choice—
emerging from the wetlands,
a pond, or someone’s garden palm,
to step into window pane wings, 
to sprout stained glass, vintage markings?


I ask them why God siphoned out
all the oxygen from the Paleozoic era,
stole their two-foot wing spans;
had acted as a catalyst for their
fall from grace. 


They answer with swarming
silhouettes at sunset,
their distinct outlines’ darting
as if motionless—oxymorons;


They show a process, but me not
set apart from it or
their thin-film interference,
the relic fairies who’ve come


to eat every last mosquito,
gnat, and no-see-um
collecting from
my thoughts of them.

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