Winner Bernice Kilduff Whte & John J. White Creative Writing Prize for Rose Hill Seniors
Published: April 22, 2010


God is the hand I used to have.

It was not an accident.

It was a Thursday afternoon,

white peignoir, brewing coffee.


Dark black coffee dribbling and croaking

into a fog-hot belly of glass.


I perched on the counter, sari-draped,

slipping beans through my fingers

like dark clefted Hail Marys,

watching the pot turn black.


I thought only the sweat of snakes

must be this black–a black that promises

unholy soils and coal hot longing.

Promises to know me better

than the back of my hand.


They say the black aroma rouses

you before the taste.


I breathed it in, I drank of it, I prayed

it take for just a while the hand that turns

days into rosaries. Water into wine.


It took. And with nothing to cleave to,

my dark rosary spilled across the floor.


Now I search my kitchen for strangeness:

a ribbit from the pot. But my hands are ordinary,


since He is only a ghost limb grasping

at things I do not see but long to hold.


The beans are nothing like rosaries;

my robe is terrycloth.