I would like most to remember
his hands - palm pressed to calm cheekbone
a cool touch, collected
and capable of anything.

I have seen these hands
prayer-stitched and penitent
folded neatly into one another.
They have been both church and steeple - prayer and pulpit.
They have known the weight of praise, and the light of Saturday nights
spent in quiet reflection.

I have seen these hands at peace,
a symphony of purpose - harmonic
and charged with their own music -
a metronome precision of movement,
no note wasted.

I have seen them, also - uncertain
constant as clockwork
twitching and shifting agitation,
a steady, endless ticking...
Fondling cigarette casualties
casually, with fixed attention;
flicking ash into air
into cup
into upturned palms -
lighting one off the knuckle of the other,
smothering the unsteadiness of time
in the constancy of ritual.

And also,

his tentative grip - slow and timid
shufflestitch of fingers,
seeking shelter between my own.

Still, I would like most to remember this -
calm palm pressed to cheekbone.
His cool touch, collected
and capable of anything.