After brushing my long hair,
I like to toss the redundant strands
caught in the bristles
out into the wind for birds
to gather up and knit into their nests,
imagining myself a valuable
if inert addition to their lives.

Once I saw a long strand woven
into a dew-drenched spider’s web—
a part of me transposed, put
unexpectedly to use.

Whenever I use my right wrist,
I rarely think about the surgeon
who repaired my broken bones,
a pompous little man
who pored over my X-rays
but never looked at me.

On my final follow-up visit
when he was charging to the door,
I called out—
thank you for my wrist!

He reared up, startled, as if
surprised that I could talk,
then galloped fast away.

I prefer to think about
the anonymous donor
of the tissue that was slipped
like a feather in the wound
before it was stitched shut,
and whom I carry with me

The form letter I was given
to thank the donor’s family
was remarkable for all
it could not say—

that I think of my donor
when I heave a grocery bag,
scrub the kitchen floor,
paddle my kayak,
brush out my hair,
press the button on my phone
to take a picture of a flower or heron,
or yesterday a long-legged insect
clinging to the birdfeeder
outside my window.

Though I often feel forlorn,
I try to appreciate my gift
on days when I can rise, go out
into the world and grasp
whatever is handed to me.

And while it is true that the first
mechanical clocks in Europe
had just one hand since no one
cared to measure out their lives
in minutes, I am truly grateful
for my matched pair of wrists
without which hands would
have been superfluous.