Jessica D. Hand‘s “Blind Gods, Human Braille,” excerpted below, first appeared in issue 69 (fall/ winter 2007) of the minnesota review. Since then, Hand’s work has been published in Redactions, The Cortland Review, and Barrow Street, among others. She won first place in the Agnes Scott Poetry Competition in 2011, judged by Arda Collins, and in 2008, judged by Martín Espada, and she was a finalist in 2007, judged by Yusef Komunyakaa. Hand is currently working on a PhD at Georgia State University. You can read the rest of “Blind Gods, Human Braille” via our online archive, available through Duke University Press.
Blind Gods, Human Braille
In the beginning, the earth was flat.
Blind gods sat between the cushions of galaxies,
palming the earth’s smooth surface.
Dust covered everything.
The world was a forgotten chore.
The gods wanted to fill this blank page of a planet.
They raised the dust into arms and legs,
sexes and heads. They bled their blood
into human bodies, and people started to move.
Every movement was a new word.
The movement of Eve’s mouth pressing
into her first apple was an entire sentence:
Thank you for choice.
Every flick of Leonardo’s painting hand said
I am awed to be alive.
The inward pull of Gandhi’s hungry flesh
My daughter Sarah, my two year old,
loves to swim naked.
She moves like freedom.
Mrs. Smith from 808 Main Circle
walks her dog every night at seven,
reads the Bible, pays taxes early.
Her body feels like duty.
I think of Brian in Iraq.
He was only a syllable in the word