Hand surgeon

Erin Shiel
Med J Aust 2015; 202 (5): 246. || doi: 10.5694/mja14.01332
Published online: 16 March 2015

He turns the boy's hand
back and over feeling each

joint and bone. More useful than an x-ray.
Only hands can fix hands the way diamonds
can cut diamonds. He holds the thumb

affectionately, the ugly cousin, stumpy and awkward.
Yet indispensable in its opposition. But he loves all the digits
and the way that hands, like Swiss army knives, spring

tools for screwing, scratching, sensing. Tacked
on the wall there is a photograph, surrounded
by his framed degrees — a pudgy toddler's hand

waving in the sun, scarred
but whole. Thanking, without
words, as only a hand can.

  • Erin Shiel

  • University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW.



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