By Cole Swensen

The hand is moment merely to language in defining the man or woman, and its consistent presence makes it a prepared reminder of our humanity, with all its privileges and tasks. during this amazing assortment, Cole Swensen explores the hand from any attitude approachable by way of language and artwork. Her desire: to exhaust the hand as subject material; her pleasure: the truth that she could not. those brief poems exhibit the hand from 100 diverse views. Incorporating signal language, drawing manuals, work from the 14th to the twentieth century, shadow puppets, imagined histories, positions (the hand as a boatless sail), and professions (the hand as window within which the panes infinitesimal), Cole Swensen's wonderful hand is that which augments our knowing and appreciation of this freak wing, this wheel that comforts none but is still a fruit the scale and form of the guts.

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This gilded bone. All things in which Did not reflect our faces. Or those of any we knew. This is a nameplate. Affixed to a doorway. No, to a door. Answer: there’s no one there. This is decor; a thin layer of gold that shines in tune. A leaf on which is added one to one and one. It’s a name “scratched” “thereon” if I raise a finger and say I’m not at home, please; I may for once 40 030 swensen (27-46) 5/17/05 9:55 AM Page 41 Please show me home. When gold leaf crumples, it disappears. There’s no one at the door, but we told you this already, there is the door.

There is a pause in the curve that resists gravitation, that suspends a glass gyroscope on the windowsill; one has invisible friends that turn on a central axis like a revolving door, hands are a form of wind. 39 030 swensen (27-46) 5/17/05 9:55 AM Page 40 the hand polishes This is now uncommon. And therefore brittles: To polish is to raise the carapace, the doorknob, the letterbox, the concierge, who, gleaming in the sun, turns to steer. This gilded bone. All things in which Did not reflect our faces.

They are alight, and they write vile things in the newspapers like “All hands on deck” and “All hands were lost” and “Every hand becomes a ghost, so do the math. It’s a little hope. It means we outnumber them, until they outnumber us forcing her eyes down the list in the morning paper. 34 030 swensen (27-46) 5/17/05 9:55 AM Page 35 the theater of the hand Chart it on a staff, both the shape of the note and that of the hand of the music therein. Marinetti wrote a play composed entirely of hands that waved above a sheet when the lights came on.

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