This is the hand you held that night
Plump as it was
Small and squat like a starfish
Still unscarred and soft as a breath,
My fingers curled around yours
As little nails turned white, then violet
You said,
‘If I could breathe for you, I would,’
And stroked my hair
While my nod nudged tears onto pallid cheeks.
Cold steel under your wrist,
Crisp white cotton making a tent of my feet,
I studied the lines on your brow
Wondering if I should say goodbye
Or if that would curse our chances—
My superstition keen as needles, even then.
And I would not let go of you
For fear of falling off the world.

This is the hand you held that night
And all the others since
Rougher now, and nearly twice as long
Still wondering
And with skin still fair enough
To see the healthier blood beneath

My hands are starting to look like yours
But my knuckles are white
From holding on.