WHAT MATTERS IS OUR HANDS by Olivia Hu

WHAT MATTERS IS OUR HANDS
after Charlottesville: anti-racism protesters

by Olivia Hu

It’s not that your mother was afraid herself, or of your teeth,
or of everything you curl your body towards. Your mother is
shivering the way mothers do when their daughters become
something on the living room floor, the thought of red wine
spilt over the heart. She wanted everything you are not: a body
clean, mouthless, palms too soft to spiral into a fist. In the streets,
you raise the whole of your anatomy. Eyes, wrists, you magnify.
These are lines beyond the tapered spill of your voice, which now
arch to stone. And what happens to a solid when reacted in gas?
The streets and a white film, chemical reaction for violence.
Or your body, two reactants colliding within itself. It is difficult to
know the universal language for resist, for 3 dead and 34 injured.
We learn to count with these bodies. Your teacher used to say that
this is the hardest type of puzzle to number, the one where new items
appear every hour or so. It’s true, the falling body becomes creation.
Before your arms became a reminder of existence, you numbered
apple seeds on a coloring page, the hollow cores not any different
from what now litters the asphalt.


Olivia Hu is the Editor-In-Chief of Venus Mag and author of the chapbook Ocean’s Children (Platypus Press, December 2016). Her work is forthcoming or has been published in Red Paint Hill, Eunoia Review, Cadaverine, Track Four, and more.

Image credit:  Mark Dixon on Flickr in Charlottesville, VA

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