Take My Hand, It’s Ceramic

by John Paul Martinez

Take my hand, it’s ceramic. You may hold it
          as firm as you’d like. Slide our rings 

from one joint to another. Whatever it takes
          to make our hands feel more than they are. 

Teach me how to peel clementines, one finger
          then the next. Make a fist to show me how soft 

I must always hold tomatoes, how strong I must
          be to make juice. Give me rock-paper-scissors 

as an excuse to throw my palms closer,
          in the same manner our mothers 

taught us to write. To bend our wrists
          until they turn stronger. Rooflike, even. 

Take my hand, we can practice handshakes
          until we look only in our eyes the whole time. 

Until we can tell each other’s fortune by touch.
          My hand is feeling full already. 

John Paul Martinez is a Filipino-Canadian poet writing out of the Midwest. He was selected as a finalist for the 2018 Black Warrior Review Poetry Contest and has been nominated for Best of the Net. His poetry is forthcoming or has appeared in wildness, Nashville Review, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Raleigh Review, Portland Review, and elsewhere. He holds a BA in Linguistics from the University of Wisconsin—Madison and can be found at johnpaulmartinez.com.