Hands Like Eyes

By W. Burns Taylor

(Ed. Note:  Burns teaches blind children to use a Braille laptop computer like his own.)


In the country of the blind

it was the feeling hands the most.

Like spiders with thick legs

They crawled into all the secret nooks and crannies,

forcing intimacy upon strangers.

They rubbed the wooden banisters silky

and wore down the iron benches.

Hands like creatures with a life of their own.

Long hands with fingers the size of dill pickles;

Short wide hands with stubby fingers like Vienna sausages;

Tiny withered hands with long thin fingers like pencils;

Hands with a touch as gentle as butterfly kisses

Blind, inquisitive, intrusive hands,

Like those of a surgeon probing for a tumor.

Between reach and contact

between touch and recognition

lies the mystery of intention.

Hands like eyes,

That rummage through the world around them

like a dog searching for a buried bone,

stretching across the boundaries of isolation and unknowing

striving to connect the world of darkness to the world of light

grasping at art, caressing faces.

King Touch, overriding all the other channels.

Blind loving wrestling touch, sheath’d hooded sharp-tooth’d touch!”

Rambunctious, energetic hands

Knocking things over, picking things up;

Reading Braille, feeling of signs;

Struggling to synthesize a whole

From the sum of the parts.

Hands like eyes,

touching, squeezing, holding on, wanting to know.

What is this made of?

How does it work?

Why is it shaped like this?

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