Squeezing away the Past

Tom Holmes


            after William Stafford’s “Turn Over Your Hand”


The lines in your palm

root to unexpected pasts.

No tone is so subtle

as those folds. Scared

to turn over your hand,

too weak to unclench your fist

too often, you have succeeded

in being only what you thought

you should be. And those lines

you trace in worried meditations,

can only give urge

to unclench & voice

what you have hidden.


Tom Holmes is a co-founding, co-editor of Redactions: Poetry & Poetics. He is author of After Malagueña (FootHills Publishing, 2005), Negative Time (Pudding House Publications, 2007), and Poetry Assignments: The Book (Sage Hill Press, 2008).