for when you know that i am scared, though i think it helps us both
when my sister,
oh, Make-Up Criminal,
would hold my hand
trembling fingers wrapped around
my spasming palm,
as we cling to each other
like sweat-slicked ropes to safety
your hand fits in mine
like two mis-matched puzzle pieces
that will press together
if you try hard enough
looking at my fingers,
i can't see anything
but yours are-
well, they tell stories
moisturizer rubbed into that skin
lines so deep they look like scars
bitten fingernails painted over with thin layers of gold polish
faded lines of ink over the back
do you know what i see?
do you look like i look?
i think all you see are hands
and that is too simplistic
for appendages that sometimes
define our very being
do you know that when you die
and if i am still here,
this is what i will remember?
your hand slotted into mine,
comfort inscribed in your skin.
you only ever hold my hands
when we're sitting in a dark room or theatre,
light playing across our faces
thrown out by the screen
and when the movie gets particularly
scary or disturbing,
you will reach over and i will
respond in kind.
i know that when the disfigured body
lurches towards the screaming teenager,
both our hands will tighten around one another's,
and our knuckles will turn white
as we jolt in our seats
i know that when the scene ends,
you will hole on for a moment longer
and then you will squeeze one last time
and drop my hand
and i also know that i am never the first to let go.
you do not know how to comfort me
but this, you can do
and i'd like you to know
that for all your mistakes -
at least you hold my hand.