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