March 2020

Back to Issue 7

Kinaesthetic Grace

By Angela Costi


This woman talks to me with her hands

she always has, since birth

I have failed to grasp them. 

I have followed the voices and text 

I’ve found outside the home, 

words on pages in whatever language, discipline or culture

bound by libraries, 

left this woman to create her own story 

with soil and seeds, flour and salt, 

a cloth, a needle, a pot, an oven… 

her fingers are an alphabet 

I had no patience for.


This is the woman who knows how to hold 

with her lined and stained hands 

the story of all those other women 

we service with a system of pay-outs, 

those women of colour on the General Motors assembly line

playing the conveyor belt like an instrument 

they will never learn,

those Hispanic women wearing paper masks as they spray 

jeans and their lungs into shreds, 

her fingers twitch when they tell 

of the Thomastown factory’s sewing machine

stitch by never-ending stitch 

bleeding before a stop for break 

the dip and throb of migraine fighting quota.  

This is the woman

silenced by statistics. 


We must search for her  

not in photo albums nor newspapers,

we must go out to the wild woods 

where there are trees left to grow old,

like hunting for prized truffles

we must smell, touch and taste, 

and when we see her

hold out our hands 

as children willing to learn.