We’re all fond of different gestures:
men, upon meeting, trade handshakes.
Teenagers might make a point
when angry by flashing middle fingers,
while some women exchange letters
to discuss the great Michelangelo.
my misanthropic uncle—refused gestures
of goodwill, thought writing letters
worthless, and when exchanging handshakes
he’d squeeze other men’s fingers
so hard they’d say, You trying
to prove a point,
asshole, and just what is your point?
Everybody knew him as Michelangelo,
but now they didn’t have strong fingers,
now that he made this gesture.
I told my uncle his handshakes
had the effect of letter
bombs, and he should write letters
of apology to explain the point
that nothing made less sense than handshakes
between men, who despised Michelangelo.
You’re so full of it, boy. I love
of squeezing the hell out of fingers,
and here’s a middle finger
to writing wimpy letters.
I saw in my uncle’s eyes a small gesture
that more than proved his point
many men see themselves as Michelangelo,
a man with a marble-cold handshake.
What was in his eyes? Not handshakes.
Something I can’t begin to finger,
any more than my uncle Michelangelo
figured why I thought letters
could verify the vapid point
that one gesture’s superior to another gesture.
A handshake means no more, no less than a
Fingers aren’t meant to squeeze, but to point.
And Uncle Michelangelo’s name was a gesture.
Spicer is a former medical journal proofreader. He has published poems in Santa
Clara Review, Synaeresis, Chiron Review, Remington Review, unbroken, Third
Wednesday, Yellow Mama, CircleStreet, The Bookends Review, The American Poetry
Review, Ploughshares, Gargoyle, The Midnight Boutique, and elsewhere.
Nominated for a Best of the Net three times and a Pushcart once, he is author
of one full-length poetry collection, Everybody Has a Story (St.
Luke's Press) and six chapbooks, the latest of which is Tribe of
Two (Seven CirclePress). He lives in Memphis. His website is www.DavidSpicer76.com/HOME | Mysite