(from the NaPoWriMo prompt: write a poem of gifts and joy. What would you give yourself, if you could have anything? What would you give someone else?)
So, there’s this thing that can happen to older men,
my doctors tell me, where our extremities
become overly sensitive to water.
That’s right, that thing we’re made of,
the thing that keeps us healthy and alive,
we become allergic to it.
When we wash our hands too much,
the skin dries out quickly,
cracking and splitting and breaking.
Bleeding out into the things
we touch if we’re not careful.
Spilling our red water into
the waiting, taking, desiccating universe.
There are cracks I don’t really mind,
on the sides of my fingers
and around the nails.
I’ve grown used to that kind
of itchy, stinging pain,
but when a crack happens
in the bend of the finger
or in the center of my palm,
the stigmata burns
and cannot be easily bandaged.
This happens mostly when
I cook for my husband.
The pain is delicious.