The left hand makes all the difference for me, every day of my life.
True, it’s awkward in China, and we’re drawn to the Tao,
and the ancient Chinese poets.
But when you put the chopsticks in your left hand
the only thing those around you will see is toilet paper,
and you wiping yourself with your left hand.
Karen and I fight over can openers.
But all Karen’s boy friends were left-handed. And I’m left-handed!
My President and John McCain are both lefties.
There are more left-handers in Alaska than in any other state.
I vote left. I sit on the left side in Church.
I confess to watching right-handers with knives and forks.
It’s so precious. And complicated.
I never quite know what to say about their poems.
And I love left-overs, and the bi-cameral brain.

Roofers say they’ll never get on a roof with ones like us.

International –Left-Hander’s Day. Imagine that.
Isn’t that a bit like poetry month in April?
I was half-way through my life when I discovered this stuff.
It wasn’t as though I didn’t know I was a lefty.
I got to play first base because I was closer to the ball coming my way
from across the infield. Even my glove was special.
So I was picking up things.
It’s true about my penmanship,
my hand coming through wet ink smearing it.
Even as a child I wanted my words on the page to soar.
Somehow I knew. The left hand was to be part of my medicine.

After my dad died and I found the reflexologist,
she asked about Dad wondering about me, 
What’s wrong with your right side?
By now I was discovering left-handed friends.
We wanted one of two things, poetry or God.
It no longer seemed important that I couldn’t replace
the lint filter in the drier without putting it in backwards.
Or keys in locks.
All of Karen’s boyfriends, left-handed.
I was a left-handed lover.
Karen chose me.
Chance and destiny breaking my way.
What we don’t talk about when we talk of the left hand.
All of my inadequacies as blessings.

Jim Bodeen
18 September-7 October 2013

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