When young, we dream of growing within perfect lines.
I ended up with my father’s hands:
broad palms, stubby fingers.
His hands are strong and honest, yet,
even now, in restaurants with strangers,
I hide mine beneath the table.
I can’t see black without imagining red or blue;
I don’t believe in white without yellow or gray.
My mother’s hands are slender,
and she is almost six feet tall.
I am shorter, my grandmothers’ heir.
Like pictures from the coloring book of a three-year-old,
our faces are mottled, with scribbled lines bleeding
out to the space around us.
[© Barbara Burt; unpublished]