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Even when rendered illogical and unreasonable, she by raging adolescent hormones, me by the effects of Tamoxifen, we are as two peas in a pod. We have the same hands. We love dark chocolate-covered anything, ice-cream, the smell of books, toasted coconut pancakes from Cost Plus World Market and The Daily Show. We are almost the same height, and she can walk in my shoes. We know we fill the heart of a husband and father. We know anything can happen, but sometimes we forget.

When she was a baby, I was one of those mothers who picked her up the moment she began to cry at night. My mother encouraged me to do so, telling me there would be plenty of times as an adult when my daughter would have to cry alone. So far, there is only one time when I have not been there to hold her when she just needed her mother.  As I lay in the ICU following a mastectomy and DIEP flap reconstruction surgery, my hands empty, she cried herself to sleep.

On this Wordless Wednesday challenge, it makes sense to choose as a favorite picture of me, one that captures me holding my girl, the summer before she entered what I once heard Whoopi Goldberg brilliantly describe as “the teen tunnel.”

yvonne (38)

Hands  
by Siv Cedering

I

When I fall asleep
my hands leave me.

They pick up pens
and draw creatures
with five feathers
on each wing.

The creatures multiply.

They say: “We are large
like your father’s
hands.”

They say: “We have
your mother’s
knuckles.”

I speak to them:
“If you are hands,
why don’t you
touch?”

And the wings beat
the air, clapping.
They fly

high above elbows
and wrists.
They open windows
and leave

rooms.
They perch in treetops
and hide under bushes
biting

their nails. “Hands,”
I call them.
But it is fall

and all creatures
with wings
prepare to fly
South.

II

When I sleep
the shadows of my hands
come to me.

They are softer than feathers
and warm as creatures
who have been close
to the sun.

They say: “We are the giver,”
and tell of oranges
growing on trees.

They say: “We are the vessel,”
and tell of journeys
through water.

They say: “We are the cup.”

And I stir in my sleep.
Hands pull triggers
and cut
trees. But

the shadows of my hands
tuck their heads
under wings
waiting
for morning,

when I will wake
braiding

three strands of hair
into one.

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