The Little Book of Hand Shadows

You who began inside me,
see a tortoise, a stork, a wolf come out of my hand.
Stand behind me, your shadow eclipsing
my shadow.
Make the cock crow by opening and closing two fingers.
We can be anyone now.
We can be spirit, ships homing, ten brothers in heaven.
Gan you feel the sweet wind of their wing beats?
Can you smell the damp forest
as the walls fill up?
They breathe with things.
Crook your right forefinger which forms a paw.
Remember a crab moves a little sideways.
Pick me up like you used to and whirl me around.
Mother Hubbard’s dog’s begging.
Your Dapple Grey appears to be running.
Our shadows spill shadows.
They pool, they molt.
They grow out of the dark, they grow
out of themselves.
They crowd the ark, they crowd the world with their finger-ears
and thorny toes and their broken beaks
and knuckled hearts,
their broken beaks and knuckled hearts.
—Deborah Digges