Life Lines by Amber Koneval

today the priest said

that what he loves most

about Mass

is looking at the people’s hands

as they reach out to him;

holding their palms up to God



the gnarled, wrinkled hands

toasted brown by sun and calloused

by shovel handles, wheelbarrows

and heavy loads

the small, freshly pink

hands of children, wearing white

to ones with nails manicured

so perfect and fragile

they reject anything on them

for fear they’ll break

the hands that are missing fingers

and thumbs

the ones scarred

or so loaded with rings you wonder

how they’re being held up

and the ones not strong enough

to be held out

and so you can only guess

at them, if you’ve got the




it makes me wonder what

my hands look like

as the body of Christ

descends into my possession

in ingestion



because I’m trying to look at them

on my own

but I come up blank



I guess I’m too close

to my own skin

to read

my own lifelines

Published in Time of Singing Volume 38, Number 3 Winter 2011/2012, pg 42.


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