Butcher's Hands

My butcher’s hands came before me, flesh stained red with kin.

I counted.

’Round one wrist, my rival.

’Pon two palms, my pa.

’Neath three nails, my nephews.

Near four knuckles, my niece.

’Bout five bones, my brothers.

’Pon six pads, my peers.

’Long seven lines, my lovers.

’Cross eight cuticles, my kind.

’Cross nine callouses, my comrades.

’Top ten tips, my treasured.

’Round ’leven wrinkles, my respected.

Via twelve veins, my vowed.

Past both pinkies, my partner.

’Round neighboring rings, my reared.

Following his forearms, my friends, once…

…except on elbows now smeared.

They were hands of many lives.