by Tom Laichas
The fingertips know things. Their ridged
whorls …. confess… the … whole.. body’s
The fingernails know things too, and knew
them even before the teeth.
The left hand arrives like a visitant, held one
arm’s length from the body. The left is a myth
of repudiated power.
The left hand’s five fingers sense a world
different from the right’s.
The left hand is grafted from another gender,
another species, from that one who knapped
the cleverest edges from flint.
The left hand’s arts are other.
We are not born to symmetry. The mouth
turns up one way or another.
One eye is wayward. The other is clouded.
The heart bleeds left. The liver slumps right.
Joints ache one at a time, sometimes in pain
on the right, sometimes on the left.
We dodder into age and our toes skew.
They’re like a child’s milk teeth, growing
The flounder’s two moonish eyes have come
to rest on its body’s left side. The flounder’s
right fin has atrophied.
The flounder is the omen of our toppling
Catch the flounder. Cut it open. Read that
Never forget: hold the votive knife in your
left hand’s fist.
Tom Laichas’s recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Spillway, Aji, La Piccioletta Barca, Evening Street Review, Stand, and elsewhere. He is the author of the collection Empire of Eden (High Window Press, 2019) and the chapbook Sixty-Three Photographs at the End of a War (3.1 Press, 2021).
Cover Design by Karen Rile