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This poem is taken from PN Review 149, Volume 29 Number 3, January - February 2003.

Three Poems Moniza Alvi

The Photographed Hands
after Jules Supervielle

They were made to feel at ease in a world of smooth surfaces
where the craggiest mountains are gentle to touch
and can be held in the hollow of a hand.
They were being treated like a face
for the first time in their lives - under the floodlights
they sensed they had a kind of forehead,
and the signs of features being born.
Memory was moving towards this new territory
like a great wave calmly gathering itself.
The consciousness of the brain
reached down to the thumb -
the thumb surrendered lightly.
And while the exposure lasted, the hands
gave a name to the sun, to the beauty of the day.
...


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