Poem: Two Hands


waiting for the bus to work
in the predawn dark
two hands
clutch both my shoulders
from behind
he commands

mine is not a sheltered life
two hands
clutching both shoulders
from behind
is vital information
if both hands hold me
he has
no weapon

my body braces
I crouch low
two hands
still clutch both shoulders
but not for long
my guttural ferocious “NO!”
shoots a vocal arrow
I turn, ready to strike

before me
the man
whose two hands
had been clutching
both my shoulders
“don’t hurt me”
“please don’t hurt me”
yes, now he is
then skulks away
into the dark

the bus arrives
I climb the metal stairs
I go to work
they tell me
six women were raped
at that bus stop
six women
the two hands
clutching both shoulders
from behind

it is then the tears fall
for the six women
their pain
the continued
but also for him
the way he shook in terror
trembling in the prison
of the abuse
once done to him
knowing only
to hurt
or be hurt

in the soul
we all share
my tears open a portal
where we are unmistakably

decades later
I would hold your
two hands
if needed
I am still
prepared to fight
I will not sacrifice
my wholeness
but it is my deeply held wish
that somehow
you will be held
that somehow
you will be healed

so today
with my two hands
I create a wondrous bird of light
filled with my intention
that love find you
and hold you
long enough
to set you free
and I watch
that shining bird
take flight

“two hands” was first published in Bouquet of Stars: Poetry Chapel Volume 3 by Chelan Harkin and Friends in November 2022. Copyright Beverly Frederick 2022

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Poem Two Hands

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