Wisely, the conformation-bright, curved, cruel
Disdains to imitate the hand. If duel,
Be the duel not of flesh and copy
But of form and form. Iron though the grip he
Curbs, warm the hook he teaches, still their tension
Sparks our timely, obscene speculation:
Captain, does your sharp prosthesis love?
Fulfill, in its detachment, its remove,
The closest function? Or, stubbornly unbidden,
Fumble at the end the crucial button?
“This steel, Exile who mourn the Land of Never,
Grows adept with use. Will you discover,
In a hand that stiffens when it ages,
Gesture I have learned by love’s slow stages?
Curiosity, response, rebuff;
Or else a drawn blood that is love enough.
And if it comes of leather, strap, and screw,
Why then, your action is contrivance too.
You jerk the wire. True touch, true time form after,
When the metal feel seems somehow softer,
And our futures, if not open book,
May be a sleight of hand and sleight of hook
Their close few tricks our only Never. Reach!
The fingerless, the fingers, each to each,
Transmit the message our one wound deserves.
‘Be whole; be healed. One weapon only serves.’”