Thirteen Roses on the Table

Reading Time: 2 minutes

A paper ball, worth less than the time of its creation, rested on the table that morning you woke before dawn.
No pencil erasures, just misspelled words scratched out, words written in unpracticed cursive, a doodled typography.
Those hands that wrote those words on that paper ball that morning, those hands chopped wood for pencils,
for paper, for tables, for doors, for the bed-frame in the bedroom, and the bed-frame in the bedroom across town.
Those clumsy hands that held a ring,
shaking hands that place that ring on its six year home.
Screen Shot 2013-02-10 at 12.23.21 PMHands that wouldn’t cook, wouldn’t clean,
but always held hands, held hips, held shoulders,
held your whole body like a peach,
like a hiker would hold the cool water from a mountain stream.
The week before, those hands cooked a dinner for two,
cleaned the kitchen afterward, and vacuumed the carpet to the bedroom.
That week you woke up in those hands, you fell asleep in those hands, you held those hands against your chest to breathe.
Before the dawn, that first morning after the week of hands, your hands shook to open that paper ball.
A ball made by hands without hesitation, closing like hands would close the eyes of the deceased, hands that never expected
to touch those eyes, that room, that place, again. Those hands left flowers, thirteen flowers,
left a table, a bed frame, a kitchen of walnut cabinets, but on the table, those hands left a crumple, a crumble;
those hands left a puddle, a pit, like Atlas leaving those hands left a world.

Austin Anderson