phalanges




clickety click click
you get credit credit credit
but joy-fingers, how much longer will you work?

banjoing typing tying up ponytails,
snapping and tapping
peeling apart Twizzlers

flexing between paragraphs
wagging hellos at babies
snapping at tweens to signal silence and threats
twisting a twirl of hair around your index just because you can

be ye not nimble forever?
wherefore the heck not, phalanges?
wait, is this why the older women have the short fuzzy hair--
is it a matter of limited energy?

if only a few tasks can be done daily before the fingers begin to ache
would i waste one with strenuous braiding?
I say I couldn't live without hair-- it helps my face--
but choices presented, what would I choose?

the curl of the fingers around the pencil
the happy claws upon the keyboard
the turning of a page so thin, just so you can smell the next one

sometimes i am surprised to find my hand resting in my lap
turned in on itself like a bird with its head tucked under its wing sleeping.
I see this in older hands that never turn out to wake

but mostly mine are moving, thank god
sometimes I scrabble for the pen in the car
swerving momentarily up and onto a curb
receiving a middle finger in the side mirror as a truck zooms by furious
but that doesn't hurt as much as not getting the words out

if no release of words, no peace no healing
i haven't found another way yet,
and if that's true, well...
once my hands stop working, I'm screwed.

maybe it is true for now
maybe I need to panic and scrabble and work and harvest
tomorrow will worry about itself

or maybe the joy-fingers won't be the thing to go
maybe it will be the ponytail
and i'll just be a mannish face with a confusingly high voice and short indeterminate hair and gender.

men in the nursing home will think I'm nice,
but wonder whether to ask me out for coffee
or to join their poker night.

and won't that be interesting to write about.