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Kiyoshi Hirawa



I wonder what your hands do when they’re not hitting me.

Do they punch little ships into bottles,

slap stamps into albums,

strangle clay on the potter’s wheel?

Or am I your only hobby?


I wonder what your hands do just before they hit me.

Do the fingers curl into those rage-white snails,

or do they relax into those red sausages to slap and smack,

wary of the loud percussion,

but warier of the permissive silence?


I wonder how they feel after they hit me.

Do they sting,

or throb,

or tremble,

or want to apologize?

Like I did.


I wonder if your hands bruise everything they touch,

if apples and bananas instinctively flinch,

if pears and peaches blanch themselves,

cowed by the prospect of ten-day tattoos?


I wonder why you say you know me like the back of your hand.

Is that where I’ve left my permanent imprint?


I watch your hands take out the garbage.

Melon rinds, chicken fat,

burnt garlic bread, week-old pizza,

and all the food that got thrown and then thrown out.

I see you cradle the trash across the threshold, nestle it by the curb,

and briefly wonder before I leave,

if I should’ve just stopped showering.


Kiyoshi Hirawa is a poet and writer whose work focuses on trauma, resiliency, hope, and providing a voice for the unheard, ignored, and overlooked.


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