If, when you look at your hand,
the first thing you think of is "wave,"
you are destined to say good-bye
to everything you love,
hello to the horizon.
If you think "grip" or "hold,"
your hated will turn a wheel
to steer you somewhere else.
Think "fist" and you will fight
to leave; "caress," and your departure
will be tender.
Nothing suits a finger better
than a map, so many roads to trace,
towns to point to,
and the thumb lifts easy
as a blossom by the highway,
the hand articulate in any language.
Feel how your knuckles curve
to fit the suitcase handle,
the doorknob, the railing at the terminal,
your hands hanging still by your side,
waiting to catch onto anything,
to be gone.
NEAL BOWERS, Professor of English at Iowa State University, is the authur of Words for the Taking: The Hunt for a...