“Israel’s Hands” by Unknown – a poem by Emma McCoy

“Israel’s Hands” by Unknown

It was nearing springtime when Ezekiel visited his sister
in the city and brought his sprawling notebooks.
She was almost done with an exhibit-- her living room
on the 15th floor covered with canvas and paint,
the concrete floor splattered and everywhere, everywhere
was God. “Tell it to me again,” she said, and stood in front
of the biggest canvas of them all. Ezekiel turned a page.
“Think of it like this, my-people-who-will-not-listen. 
You are walking, passing by a field. In the ditch to the left
you hear wailing. A baby! Still slippery with blood and warm,
like a calf born in the dirt, kicking and screaming with fear.
You pick it up, wipe away the grime with your jacket--”
The painting is taking shape. She’s feathered the background
softly, green fading into blue, the cool mud of a resting field
clumping at the front. The way her prophet brother tells it,
the baby is afraid, but there! off to the left, a speck of red,
a tiny fist waving above the grass, a hint of a leg kicking
in defiance. “You know, in the moment, everything. How
that child will grow to hate you, curse you, throw your love 
in the dirt. And still you wrap it, and take it with you.”
She flicks her wrist, and there, in the corner:
a pair of hands reaching to meet the bloody fist.

Emma McCoy is a poet and essayist with love for the old stories. She is the assistant editor of Whale Road Review, co-editor of Driftwood, and poetry reader for the Minison Project.  She is the author of In Case I Live Forever (2022), and she has poems published in places like Flat Ink, Paddler Press, and Jupiter Review. Catch her on Twitter: @poetrybyemma

1 Comment

  1. Mary Alice Dixon says:

    Stunningly beautiful and full of grace.

    Liked by 1 person

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