Hands – Milton Ehrlich

The blunt, at times sardonic tone of this poem of Milton’s — as well as the three others we’ll be sharing from him — accurately captured the sweet-and-salty nature of life we all feel at times (now more than ever, surely, for some of us). Enjoy.


Can pluck a Stradivarius,

sculpt a David out of marble,

pleasure oneself, or a loving partner,

scratch an itch, pick your nose, wipe your ass,

write a play, applaud and give a standing ovation,

tie a shoelace or play an accordion,

steer an ambulance or a “Just Married” car,

dig for gold or bury a good or bad soul,

swat a Corona Virus mosquito,

shake hands with an old friend or a new enemy,

pull the pin on a hand grenade, squeeze the trigger

on an M-1 rifle or press the code for a nuclear bomb.

Never forget, a hand can always reach

for the hand of God.

Milton P. Ehrlich Ph.D. is an 88-year-old psychologist and a veteran of the Korean War. He has published poems in The Antigonish Review, London Grip, Arc Poetry Magazine, Descant Literary Magazine, Wisconsin Review, Red Wheelbarrow, Christian Science Monitor, and the New York Times.

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