Where are you?
There are stumps
Where my hands should be
There is air
Where my fingers are supposed to be.

Come back
I need your hands to build
The hands of machines
Strength to work, till the fields are tilled
I need your hands to provide the means
To self-defend, lest I be battered and killed
Lest they claw and tear me at these tenuous seams

I’m here
Other hands are coming and creeping in
Don’t construct palms and fingers of tin
No, no
No, no, gauntlets of iron will do!
Yeah, yeah
I’m just a boy, a pair of gauntlets will do…

Maybe it is and isn’t meant to be
The hands, they’ve pounded till I couldn’t see
The boots, they’ve knocked me down and kicked my gut
Don’t you fret now, no, I found a puddle in this here rut!

A puddle of grease
A puddle of oil
Dripped off and away from your dormant machines
Off and away from your creations of brown and rust

Will I be all right?
Oil hands, a worthy substitute?
No fists to throw, nor a gun to shoot
Runny fingers, untouchable and slick
Painting the walls and dabbing the bricks

I’ll be all right.
Run my fingers wet across this paper blank
I can show you all the world
If you all show me the way
Light a wick and light my hands,
Ignite my passion’s flame
Machines and oil, separate,
But necessities all the same

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One thought on “Machine Hands: A Poem by Corey Toomey

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