“Looking for Breakthroughs”
March, and you begin to see
the bare sides of hills surrounded by snow.
The snow is old, crusted;
only one storm in two weeks, and for the rest
this large stillness
broken only by the wind’s occasional calling.
Nothing is still at work. We are trying to cut through
the paperwork and the uneasiness we have
with the numerous tasks and with our itchy unending intent
to change the universe.
I come home to watch March come in
and think of my friend sitting in his wheelchair
unable to get in bed for lack of a spare pair of hands.
The hands he needs are displayed on the glossy pages
of magazines, sporting manicures
and a variety of merchandise of all sizes and colors;
they’re the hands of the athlete reaching for the basketball,
and the hands of workers paid 7.50 and benefits for flipping
burgers and stuffing pickets of fries into waxed paper bags;
any one of these pairs of hands
would be a way to bed
for one friend without attendant care.
I set up my son’s soldiers to march into the magazines
and across the stadiums of my TV into the Medicaid office, into
the legislature, into the Governor’s living room;
to lay down arms and ask for hands.
– Deborah Lisi-Baker (1952 – 2022)