|The Hands - Edvard Munch (1893)|
In this night’s dark stain, come, lay beside me;
I will take you, man without a name,
who turns his face away and bites my shoulder,
who needs but cannot bear the bitter dregs.
I will carry your weight, as every sister
who wore the handflower became the bangle,
learned to spread her bones and sink beneath
the waves of each particular obsession.
Curses follow me of those who fear my right
and shudder to know the love I count in minutes
of every hour, who spit their gall where I laugh.
This flesh is mine, it has bled, and shed,
like a snakeskin every unworthy touch
and kept for itself, the taste of one kiss.
Literary Excursions in The Imaginary Garden focuses on the device used by Rainer Maria Rilke of employing imagery which portrays humans in terms of things.
The handflower is a 'slave bracelet' worn between wrist and fingers and the bangle or 'manilla', worn above the elbow, was a form of currency in the slave trade.