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Warsan Shire

“Grandfather’s Hands
 
 
 
 
 
 
Your grandfather’s hands were brown.
Your grandmother kissed each knuckle,
 
circled an island into his palm
and told him which parts they would share,
which part they would leave alone.
 
She wet a finger to draw where the ocean would be
on his wrist, kissed him there,
named the ocean after herself.
 
Your grandfather’s hands were slow but urgent.
Your grandmother dreamt them,
 
a clockwork of fingers finding places to own–
under the tongue, collarbone, bottom lip,
arch of foot.
 
Your grandmother names his fingers after seasons–
index finger, a wave of heat,
middle finger, rainfall.
 
Some nights his thumb is the moon
nestled just under her rib.

“Your grandparents often found themselves
in dark rooms, mapping out
each other’s bodies,
 
claiming whole countries
with their mouths.”


Warsan Shire, Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth
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Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth by Warsan Shire
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