At last you've given yourself

to me. The whorls and ridges

of your thumb, of each

of your perfectly squared

fingers. On the

window. What I first saw

in the first I ever had, those hands

I would measure all other men's

against. My father, when I was small,

would elongate his palm

under my head as a pillow,

show me the tender secret

a grown man's hand could hold –

the soft underside, world of whorls,

mikvah of sweat on flesh. Until

my mother moved us away from him

for good. Both the open palm

and its converse, the fist.

What my father hit me with

on the day that should've been

my Bar Mitzvah.

I can see these both

now, in your handprint,

after having changed into your lane,

I can see what no one talks about,

that electric pulse when Jerry's hand

touched mine in the lights-out after the dance,

what we hadn't dared express all night

and here I stop

as you

who've pushed over and over into

my lane, you who've nearly

run me off the Burnside Bridge,

your hand throwing

your big cup of syrupy cola

all over my windshield,

as you, who've sped up, slowed down

no matter what I did,

here, as I could finally pull over,

thinking I'd lost you,

as you walk up from nowhere,

tall and brown haired and bearded

do you have a gun?

as I call the Portland police

who tell me this isn't an emergency

you slap my driver's side window

once, with your whole palm

before I can drive away,

your hand's underside

so flat and loud and violent

and beautiful I'll wait all week

to wipe your handprint off the glass. 

published in Jewish Currents magazine’s: Urge:

Finalists in the 4th Annual Alexander and Dora Raynes Poetry Competition