blood on our hands | a poem

For some reason I often get minor cuts and things – not serious, but just enough to draw blood. Mostly they’re on my hands (it doesn’t help that I wash my hands all the time at work, so they get dry and cracked).

A few months ago I wrote this poem to explore how that might be a metaphor for the way we hurt each other in our relationships – and the redemption that can come through the gospel.


burnt umber streaks
across the back of your hand
you picked your chapped lips
too many times
(i didn’t mean to say those words
or maybe i did
but either way, i’m sorry)

crimson specks
burn on your wrist,
your knuckles.
you’ve washed your hands too much,
dry, cracking,
naked riverbed longing
for a storm
(i can’t wash it away,
all the water in the world
can’t slake our thirst
and i’m sorry)

bright red drips
from your finger
like crimson inconvenience.
maybe the knife slipped
maybe running your fingers along the blade
was a little foolish, after all.
(i’ve been too often careless,
too long flirted with destruction
and i’m sorry)

rust gathers
in the creases of your palm,
lodges under your fingernails
too late to prevent the cut
too powerless to heal it
but maybe you can stop the flow
(we’ve fought so long, cut so deep
maybe we can’t fix this fracture –
still, i’m sorry)

and there’s blood on both our hands
blood, like nails.

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