Teri Lavelle


His hand, a thrust of white, a thunderclap of flesh,

sears a five star mark across her plump cheek.


Those fingers that birthed the calf, and picked

(with docile precision) the burr from the collie’s

belly, smacked a scarlet limbed tattoo onto her

cheekbone and nose.


The palms that groomed the gelding’s

dun back, and cupped slices of apple under its

muzzle, were the palms that slapped a pulsing

bougainvillea atop her bare shoulder.


Fingertips, that soothed the milk cows’ udders

with balm, and coaxed out their milk by

kneading furry ears, pinkened, with a blow, her

banded left hand.


Hands that gear engines, fuel the tanks of

mechanized beasts,

hands that tinker in the bowels

of a pumping system,

or rake the straw in animal stalls,

are same hands that blood coated lips, with

knuckles, tamping her next retort.