didn’t allow me beautiful hands
but the worn, road-map hands
of my mother
and grandmother,
and I suspect the mothers
and mothers before her—
not a single hand model
among them
but workers of the soil,
the kitchen,
the bath and laundry,
menders of clothes,
canners of vegetables,
cotton pickers,
cow milkers,
hair braiders,
hands meant for daily toil,
washed often in harsh soap,
dried on the nearest towel
or on the folds of fabric
clinging to bone-sturdy bodies
of women meant to bear children
and pass down capable hands
to their daughters.