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  • Eva Davis

Hands

Eva Davis (she/her)


Taking your hands out of the water is hard when they’ve grown gills, and of course hands don’t really do that, but people do when they can’t breathe. No they don’t, they stick their head up out of the water. Their hands grow calloused, they don’t grow gills. It’s easy to believe those calluses are gills when you’re drowning. A person will believe anything when they want to survive. 


Scrubbing the dirt off of your hands is hard when you’ve planted them in the ground, and of course you can’t really plant your hands in the ground, but people do that when they don’t know where they belong. No they don’t, they read self help books, they meditate, they look at the map on the sidewalk. They’ll do anything to avoid looking lost. It’s easy to avoid things, harder to ask for help. A person will do anything to avoid asking for help sometimes. 


Taking your hands out of the fire is hard when they’re cold, but of course people don’t really do that, they don't stick their hands in fire. They hold them in front of it, they huddle close to it. Nobody sticks their hands in fire, everybody knows fire burns. They’ll get as close as they can though, they might even sing themselves a little. A person will lean in as close as they can when it’s cold, even if it burns. 


Hands are good at holding on to things, at getting close to things, at getting used to things. It's in their nature to fold shut, to curl in, to hold on. They get used to things, and we all know once you get used to something it is hard to let go, addiction is the easy way to go(no it’s not, but no one tells you that). It’s easy to cling to things, the hard part is letting them go. A person will do anything to keep holding on.





Context:

I wrote this piece about the character Stepehn Blackpool from Hard Times by Charles Dickens. I wrote it mostly about the way they call the workers of the industrial revolution ‘hands’ and reduce them to their ability to work, but lately I’ve also been thinking about this piece in tandem with what privilege allows you to do with your hands(ie: create art) and also how art is affected by consumer culture/its ability to make and or not make money. Mostly though, it is about what people do with their hands.

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