Bruce Guernsey is a poet from Bethel appearing for the second time in this column. His unusual poem features the hands of a married couple, which express at night a closeness the couple can no longer manage in the daytime.

The Hands


The only time we touch now

is in our sleep, as if our hands,

finding each other,

have lives of their own.


Joined to our surprise every morning,

they are full of longing,

like a one-armed man

trying to pray.


We pull them apart

starting the day, yours

to your work, mine to mine:

purses, pockets, change.


How they love the night,

the cool of linen, the underside

of pillows — sneaking out,

meeting without us in the dark.


Theirs is a language we’ve forgotten,

a way of speaking now their own:

touching, whispering,

making plans.