In its making, in
its quip and rhyme,
manicured or not,
the hangnail enshrined—

crossed, ringed, a rabbit’s paw,
solemn fingers, vowed
fingers and a hand…
the palm knows.

The wipe, the swipe,
the curtsey or bow, followed by
the hat temporarily
uncapped, not for the cat,

for the divine chanteuse
or the Can Can girls who
flourish in their turning-
into turning-into magic act—

where sawn in half
is not the final curtain.
Yes, this is no ha’penny
or dime-store show—

but no, not these fingers,
these tremulous digits
that twist wires
on knotty trellises—

where a rose vows
thorny allegiance to presidents
or kings whose generous squeezes
are the rub of a nation. O

yes, the hand, the hand,
the hand’s the thing,
that doting underside
of fatherly loving.