I’ll smash these fingers to pieces
and saw these hands off my arms.
They are petty jewels of an unworn and undeserved crown.
They are the vestiges of a lost name.
They are vestigial.
They have proven themselves redundant,
they have been dominated by a decreasing art
and slackened by sliding skill.
If I have need of them now, they certainly don’t tell me,
and seem contented to resign themselves to the fate
not that they had chosen, but through a refusal to choose, chose –
an aching ruinous crumbling,
as though they were made of dry sand, of red dust,
bled near to smacking their lips in dumbfounded and final thirst.
I’d rather not know them
when the day comes that they fail me.
It would be easier to live with stumps, with castration,
than to stare at these fully formed phalanges
shriveled, inactive, and shuddering from underuse.
If they are to be destroyed, either way,
in sloth or activity,
I should rather they be removed
to a home for old hands
than for me to spend
another minute looking at their knobby, knuckled backsides,
squeezing what little life I can from their tendons and tips,
staring at the imposing white expanses that separate me from the world
and knowing only my fingers can navigate,
like they do the passage from pale, veiny thigh
to the great fold at the spine, at the center.
These pumping cylinders of flesh and bone and gold and nail.
These fair painters.
These graceful, ungrateful little pencils.
There could be no greater pleasure
than to run them down to the eraser.