Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2016  Vol. 15 No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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finger / doigt
Sacred relic, musical technique, organ of sense.

Split at the root: to caress or admire; to pinch, filch, steal. To turn about in one’s fingers, to do this repeatedly or restlessly. 1611: My little finger shall be thicker than my father’s loynes. Excuse me? D.H. Lawrence, as usual, was on the right track, but wrong: My body need not be fingered by the mind. Oh, but it does. Hence a finger is a nip of liquor, to have fingers made of lime-twigs is to be thievish, to have a finger in the pie is to be involved. Luck, blame, languor: fingers crossed, point the finger, without lifting a finger. Sensory pedestal: rosy-fingered, finger-plum, fingerprint, finger food, finger-paint, Finger-Lickin-Good™. To have and to hold: the ring finger is also known as the annular, leech, medical, or physic finger. The good doctor. Thus the hand words, split at the root—handle becomes manipulate. To finger—indicate, inform, rat someone out to the police. She fingers the velvet trim: connoisseur, pickpocket.  

The poem samples quotes from the first edition of the King James Bible and D.H. Lawrence’s “Chastity."

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