Take My Hand, It’s Ceramic

by John Paul Martinez

Take my hand, it’s ceramic. You may hold it
            as firm as you’d like. Slide our rings
from one joint to another. Whatever it takes
            to make our hands feel more than they are.
Teach me how to peel clementines, one finger
            then the next. Make a fist to show me how soft
I must always hold tomatoes, how strong I must
            be to make juice. Give me rock-paper-scissors
as an excuse to throw my palms closer,
            in the same manner our mothers
taught us to write. To bend our wrists
            until they turn stronger. Rooflike, even.

Take my hand, we can practice handshakes
            until we look only in our eyes the whole time.
Until we can tell each other’s fortune by touch.
            My hand is feeling full already.

John Paul Martinez is a Filipino-Canadian poet writing out of the Midwest. He was selected as a finalist for the 2018 Black Warrior Review Poetry Contest and has been nominated for Best of the Net. His poetry is forthcoming or has appeared in wildness, Nashville Review, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Raleigh Review, Portland Review, and elsewhere. He holds a BA in Linguistics from the University of Wisconsin—Madison and can be found at johnpaulmartinez.com.