Hand Washing

Hand washing

The water from the tap is warm,
lapping over my palm,
as a waterfall would, or the accumulation
of tears left unspoken,
marking patterns of erasure on
the minuscule, the microscopic,
my way of clearing a new field for planting.
On the other side of fear
there is always an invitation.

My hands turn and shift under
the liquid soap,
gliding as if a swan is gracefully
opening her wings, saying:
this span of life is precious,
and we are only just learning
to fly as a flock.

I listen to the running water,
and enter a sound bath,
easing this body into the ritual of
ablution;
it’s a resurrected prayer, turning my palms
towards the sky, fingers dancing.
This is my way of reaching out now,
to touch that slender film of togetherness
which has always held us,
only these days, under this flowing water,
we get to touch each other clean.

In the space just beyond me,
in the quiet empty of my chosen isolation,
I can feel your skin under this water too,
and I am reaching for your hand,
you stranger,
who I may never touch:

your soul is cupping this water,
your clear breath is my dream,
your destiny is in my hands too.

The tap runs clear for us all.

Yes, on the other side of fear,
there is always an invitation:
What will we plant with our clean,
dancing hands?

Our field is ready
and I hear there are harvests
waiting to grow.

– Clare Mulvany, 23 March, 2020