“Holding Hands”

Listen to Michael McFee reading this poem. After weeks of yearning half-taps and near-grasps, my sweaty palm found hers and we made a leaky basket of our interlaced fingers and that was it, hallelujah, finally we were holding hands in public, we were shaking sideways on a visual contract everybody could understand, I was hers and she was mine, the two of us had begun becoming one clasped flesh, now we were happily coupled from the supple wrists down, we were carrying the pet with two backs between us as if we’d never before squeezed another human in such a meaningful way, as if she had never seized her tall anxious mother when first learning to walk or cross a lethal street, that firm grip saving her, as if I would never clutch a dying father’s calluses in cardiac intensive care and feel our shared pulse, the mutual prayer of blood, as if she and I would never tire of each other’s touch and try to figure out how to escape this embarrassing collision of crinkled skin, this padded cage of bones, these too-long opened fists before somebody passing by mistook for love our resigned inability to quite let go.