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"Reaching Out of the Void" Jack Ellison

The hands, they are passed down from generation to generation, all appearing identical until now. My mother, her hands are nothing like my grandparents’. My mother’s hands, they are shaky and dry, constantly clenching together, then releasing in the realization that nobody is there to hold them. They hold the weight of the world. In one hand lies hope, and in the other, blame. They weren’t always like this though. In the days of playing in the garden at the house on ninth street, they were always filled with something. Normally it was either my small, chunky baby body, or the jagged hands of someone who was always holding the knife, but didn’t stab her in the back until I was old enough to say “bye.” The knife was sharp, but my father’s hands weren’t; they were coarse and drenched in deceit.


My father’s hands are all over, they travel from person to person every day, but never touch anyone. The blistered edges of his fingertips are rough with lies. This became a practiced routine. Just moments after holding me gently for the first time, his ridged hands traveled to another woman other than his wife. This was betrayal, this was touching someone. My hands are empty, never grabbing anything, never intertwining with others. Each long finger lays in a lackluster manner because the wrist and arm they’re attached to is never actually living, just going through the different motions every day, as lifeless as the last. They reach out to everyone, always longing to be held, but never being comfortable enough to put their full weight into another’s grasp.

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