Emily K. Michael


I have felt myself in your hands,
the labor of your fingers pressing
heavily on the sturdy keys
of the brailler. Tactile poetry
rushes at my fingertips–familiar
words in a new medium. I know the ache
of the old machinery, the clatter of the keys,
and the ding of the bell that keeps pace
with the embossing line. The intense
reading-cramp settles into my novice hands
as I pour over your pages
until I meet my own words,
lovingly transcribed and tucked
between the leaves of your letter.

* * *


The wide square wicker chairs sit, arms touching.
The shiny surface of the small, dark table
beckons drinks and dainty plates. My hand lies
casually against the even wicker surface, fingers spread
over its blunt corners. Slow, tentative questions begin
the long conversation, the first halting steps of a new dance
in a familiar dance hall. It picks up – gains strength
and complexity as new strands weave in – we change partners
and return to each other. First, your hand
rubs my shoulder as we establish ourselves.
Your rough fingers clumsily run across mine
when we reach for the same space. Your hand rests
upon mine in parting. You lift your warm palm
and gently place it over mine – insisting
that you must leave. Empty air settles
along my skin, and I understand more
how our hands have embellished the conversation.


Emily K. Michael is a legally blind writer, musician, and English instructor, living in Jacksonville, FL. She teaches composition courses at the University of North Florida and works with Independent Living for Adult Blind at Florida State College of Jacksonville. She blogs about her experiences with low vision at On the Blink.