CONJUNCTIONS:35, American Poetry: States of the Art, Fall 2000
The Hand Defined: 1
Cole Swensen

How is the We define the Where begin? an elbowful of muscle
fine as an inner ear

Those who say the definition of the hand begins in the shoulder say
those who say (the abbreviate) (mya): between 3.9 and 4.2 Million
Years Ago, Australopithecus anamemsis: to find. Fossils of the
hand and feet are so much rarer than those of skulls. Refined. We're
back to the inner ear. To hold onto earth hearing
with the fingertips all those singly
millions of                    early braille, caressing    a        an
armful of earth in falling
and is still falling
                                       the entire

structure of the back and shoulder
                          and enormous parts of the brain.

Cole Swensen's Seven Hands can be found in the print issue of Conjunctions:35, American Poetry: States of the Art