The prompt for this poem was "what do my hands know?". I've answered this prompt before and written about being a musician who creates aural art with her hands, but this time I turned my contemplation in a different direction—toward my hands themselves.

I think it's interesting that I chose to conflate knowledge with a realization of aesthetic value independent from traditional social norms for women in the current US culture.


A History of My Hands

By Lydia Solodiuk

My hands know that they are beautiful.

It was a reckoning a long time in coming.

I hated their oversizedness, having a man’s hands in the 5th grade isn’t what any girl wants.

I hated that I didn’t have pianist hands even though I was a pianist in my younger days

It took a visit to a laser esthetician office’s,

She, heavily coated with makeup and derision, judged my hands unacceptable to the feminine norm.

So I ran outside, into the narrow parking lot bordering a small highway. Everything smelled like exhaust and rubber and pizza sauce.

I watched the man through the grimy window shape a pizza with his bulky man hands into a perfect swirling circle.

That was the beginning of love, for me and my hands.

What a poetic beginning for a girl descended from Sicilian orchards

Where grimy, hardworking hands slowly caressed lemons into wooden boxes.