Heart In My Hands

By Kayli Harley, TIWP Student

My heart has hands–hands I have to keep from reaching for things. Wherever I go, they extend welcomes to strangers, places, feelings. Anything that could be love. Anything that could mean something. I can’t stop their curious, child-like fingers from yearning to clutch onto anything that offers the slightest promise of happiness, and I suppose I cannot blame them for trying. 

They are eager hands, reckless and uncontrolled. They have already burned themselves before I can deter them from the allure of a flame. But they are gentle and kind and only wish to caress the things they hold. They only wish for the world to reach for them as they reach for the world. 

I know better than to let them roam, but they have a mischievous way of slipping past my attention and latching onto things I know they cannot have. I must gently pry the forbidden thing from their grasp and apologize in a language they do not understand. I stare at their empty palms as their fingers curl around air then uncurl in defeat. They stay there, suspended in their confusion, waiting to touch something that has already passed. 

They cannot understand why they have nothing to hold, but I do not have the will to tell them that their unchecked longing is only an invitation for suffering. Someday, when I am not paying attention, they will reach into a trap that will mangle and scar them. But even after the scars fade, I know they will not hear any warnings. Because wherever I go, the gentle and curious hands of my heart will follow me, extending silent offerings to all that they encounter. Battered, broken, or bruised, they will continue reaching out into the world until something finally reaches back.

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