Poetry by Farah Lawal Harris

Their Fingers

their fingers range in colors
like shades of lipstick at a M.A.C. counter
and each tried to count her tears
but fell asleep with puddles of misery
seeping in her ears
and when they awoke with matted hair
stuck to the sides of their faces,
they realized that memory doesn’t erase itself
but only is kind and rewinds for new days of reliving
that which women wish were forgotten.
you should see their fingers…
some blackened by lighter flames,
some blistered by working many days, and some so soft,
you’d think they never worked a day in their life.
they use their fingers in many ways,
to touch the skin on their own bodies
or to point them at thieves who tried to reprogram their use
to only hush their own concerns and stay folded and numb.
their fingers are beautiful
but afraid to reach out because reaching out
sometimes results in someone pushing in;
being nice sometimes results in violation
and sometimes tips of fingers get bitten so that they are ineffective
and can’t redial the police when necessary
or wave together at bystanders who could offer assistance.
their fingers sometimes get limp
but are able to dance late at night when sleep should dominate
and able to scratch and sniff good times
and magic erase tragedy and blur together evenly
so that fingers make up women survivors who learn to smile again
and band again and move again
and be again and be even more than
just fingers
but whole persons, complete humans
ranging in shades to create
a beautiful prism of survivors
of pain.


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