Arms of Grace


I do not have enough hands for this.
Two arms
two hands
with five fingers each, that
is all I have to work with.
I need an arm to hold the baby
one to stir the pot
one to tell my brother “no,”
two to hug my sister when she falls.
I need so many more than I have.
One to shut the door, pull the latch tight,
my father making another drunken return
his hot boozy breath on the other side
fighting to get in.
I still need one to dial my mother,
hear her say again “I am sorry,
I must stay at work.”
Now I use one to feed the baby
two to wash the dishes
one for each sleeping child I put
to bed, happy they’re not old enough
to remember this.
Finally these two hands are
mine again,
hours after I
should be asleep.
I use one to open a book,
one to write my homework,
and two to pray to God
my thirteenth year
will be easier.

Allison Amor