top of page
Learning from the Hands, One Throne Magazine

Art by Eric R. Martin.
© Please do not reproduce without artist's permission.

by Emily Pohl-Weary


After Mercedes Sosa's song "Las manos de mi madre"



My mother’s hands are coarse sandpaper
that grind you down
My mother’s hands smell of baby
powder and garlic

My mother’s hands tear down walls
hold up roofs, make homes

My mother’s hands are warm summer wind
sweeping the city streets, gathering lost people

My mother’s hands comfort four children
friends, husbands, lovers, allies


My mother’s hands set me straight
when my journey forks

My mother’s hands prove she’s always right
never tremble or apologize for rage

My mother’s hands don’t compromise, pen manifestoes
sign petitions, post online


My mother’s hands will not compute

ironic humor about serious issues

My mother’s hands resolutely grip peace signs
amidst a sea of riot police

My mother’s hands slice through raw meat
boil spaghetti, pickle carrots, bake cakes


My mother’s hands begged for nothing
while she was married, all three times

My mother’s hands are never empty
now that she’s alone and works cash at a corner store

My mother’s hands shovel, stack, scrub

harder than ever

My mother’s hands will never reveal

just how tired she really is



Emily Pohl-Weary's latest book is Ghost Sick (Tightrope Books, 2015), a collection of poetry about tragedy and resilience in downtown Toronto. Her previous books include the young adult fantasy novel Not Your Ordinary Wolf Girl (Penguin Random House, 2013), along with a Hugo Award-winning biography, a ghost love story, a middle-grade mystery, a female superhero anthology, and a girl pirate comic. She was the Pierre Berton House Writer-in-Residence in Dawson City, Yukon, this past summer, and is currently working on a new teen novel. Visit her online at




bottom of page