Poet’s Corner: Decompose, Hands

Here is the latest installment of Poet’s Corner, presented by the Edmonds-based EPIC Poetry Group


Not easy or quick.
hewing and subtracting and liquifying.

Dark ink baptism
so lonely inside the quiet loud closet of the mind
wrestling the foe –

A boulder
A jail cell
The wrong relationship

A terrifying vast ocean cauldron of foul soup.

You’ll drink this bitter elixir
and become unrecognizable
as you deliquesce.

Puzzling, the transformation from chrysalis.
That which grew inside you
always had its own yearnings.

You are an architect, and designer
and a vessel and womb.

Alone is never alone.

At the crossroads,
The Three Headed Goddess
holds a lantern.

In the darkness is a faint firefly light.
Though it’s difficult to see in front of you
follow the dim illumination.
Though your rucksack is heavy,
carry the pain and suffering
as though they are blameless babies.
They needed to be born to you alone.

Alison Ersfeld

~ ~ ~ ~


The heart is a river whose embryonic journey begins
in a pre-natal ritual
forming in unison with the hands.

If you want to know a person’s heart
watch what they do with their hands,
how their graceful piano fingers create an entrancing stardust net of magic spells –
Nursing and nurturing
Curating gifts
Weaving warmth
Building sanctuaries
Whipping up recipes that conjure the dead to join the gathering.

Trust hands that smooth back hair from a scared patient’s forehead,
soothe a sick child in distress,
rock an unsettled baby.

Hands that pick you up
and dwell on your pages
will carry your heart gently home
where you will dream up purposes
for your own hands.

Alison Ersfeld

~ ~ ~ ~

Alison teaches English, creative writing, and mythology at Meadowdale High School where she works collaboratively with students to publish the school’s annual art and literary magazine. She is a board member of EPIC Group Writers and would like to invite you to the EPIC poetry reading at the Edmonds Arts Festival on Saturday, June 15 at noon outside of the Plaza Room.

Published work: Unmasked Magazine, EPIC Group Writers 2018 Contest winner (second place-poetry); Poet’s Corner – My Edmonds News


  1. Alison: what a gorgeous poem titled simply “Hands.” Beautiful lines linking the hands with the heart: “The heart is a river whose embryonic journey…begins with the hands.” “If you want to know a person’s heart, watch what they do with their hands.” And: “Hands that…will carry your heart gently home.”

    Your poem reminded me of a famous pediatric hand surgeon who died under very tragic circumstances last July: Memphis-based Dr. Benjamin Mauck. Shortly before his passing, when interviewed in “Memphis Magazine”
    he stated: “The hand is how we interact with the outside world. And when your hand is involved, it affects almost every single thing you do.”


  2. Such a skillful and moving use of words! I particularly loved “Hands”…so many lines spoke to me. Thank you!

  3. /You’ll drink this bitter elixir /and become unrecognizable /as you deliquesce… “Deliquesce.”. Now, there’s a word I needed to learn! And the reason I read the Poet’s Corner! Thanks Allison.

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