The Language of Hands

Mr. Darcy snorted.
Considering it a reply in itself, he said nothing
more. Ms. Bennet looked toward, expecting
an explanation.

Her eyes widened, she performed
a quizzically encouraging nod. “Go on”,
it spoke in silence.

“You can’t skip it more than

He emphasized “you” as if such a feat were possible
but lost only on her. His fingers tinkered
with the salt of the earth.


She bent down and picked up
a flat pebble from her pile. A premonition of triumph played
about her face; almost as if in vengeance
she cocked her hand toward the water.


His eyes followed her long,
slender arms, tense; watched
her eyes harden, her legs loosen against gravel
yet dig in at the terse point
between rigid
and fluid.


He watched her arm sling back, a delicate flick
of wrist
as the pebble left her hand, imperceptible until it touched
the gentle eddies rippling
from collisions long past,


It struck once,
took off again.


Elizabeth watched the rock fly; both were tied
to the moment with steel ropes, unnoticing
of the sunset that dipped nearby
in willful misunderstanding.


In that moment, a thousand drops
of a nearby waterfall collided, combined, separated, shattered into a dizzying array of light.
In that moment, they collected, recombined, reformed their destruction
as if to forget

that moment.


The pebble touched surface again,
arc lower,


It took off again.


Mr. Darcy watched the wind whip
a strand of hair across Elizabeth’s brilliant uncolored
eyes. Her mouth
was slightly open
, her gaze
scaffolded with quiet anger,
wisely screaming
more, enough, more, enough.


The rock struck surface again, nearing
an end. Hesitantly, it rose away from the liquid that greedily
absorbed the first salt it had tasted in years.
It wobbled, if ever so slightly.


Distance is nothing when one has a motive.
Run. Be chased.


Elizabeth muttered encouragement,
Ms. Bennet maintained her composure
in a moment unfixed from time.


The rock dipped toward the rippling
and struck with a splash. A small explosion was born
not far from the monstrous thundering nearby, its life as brief as the span
of a water droplet almost escaping
the clutches of a river. Suddenly all was ripples, sunlight glinting
in a different position from before, the wind long


Mr. Darcy laughed,
and walked away.


What are arms to love and promise?
What is water to the wise?
What once lost is lost forever?
What’s the violent’s greatest guise?



  • The poem’s characters are very loosely based on the speech and characteristics of Jane Austen’s Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice.
  • The image is a still from the music video of Cherry Wine by Hozier.

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