The function of a human hand?
Writing a message, making a bed,
Opening a jar, dialing a phone,
Putting on pantyhose,
Touching the face of a child,
Or a lover.
And in its absence?
Yawning space and phantom pain,
And an oddly-shaped bandage
At the end of Angie’s arm.
PFC Hernandez, home in El Paso,
Watches her family watching her,
Writing awkwardly with her left hand,
Brushing her black wavy hair,
Watching Dr. Phil
Wearing an old gray-green T-shirt
Bearing the faded words
“Proud to be a Marine.”
Gasping and choking,
She wakes from thick, dusty dreams
Of shimmering, endless sand,
Echoing hollow with hatred,
And the feared but half expected
Roar of fiery amber heat,
Breaking the angry stillness,
Searing through the night
And Angela’s right hand.