Lines for the Left Hand

by Jeff Oaks

Doing what, the right hand 

doesn’t always seem to know.

Having given up the work

of subtle textures, the snug

handshake, the little ways 

dominance betrays its teeth. 

Why do we put a ring on it? 

For its commitment? Its ability

to stay quiet, to maintain balance? 

Its occasional silliness? 

It remembers the name before 

your name; every so often

you need to see again what a wreck

it was before the right took over. 

It watches the margins for crumbs. 

It loves the universe you made 

on the napkin unconsciously 

dabbing the water or the too thick

colors from your delicate brush 

while you were trying to get right

some flowers, a thistle, 

what a beautiful wreck.